Continuation of Is refusing to concede in the face of an unstoppable Nexus combo punishable?

Alice's board: Jace, the Mind Sculptor @ 5 loyalty, Counterbalance, 8 lands, bunch of counterspells in hand, Brainstorm in hand, Entreat the Angels on top of her deck

Bob's board: 3 lands

Bob is so locked out that he's effectively dead, but he refuses to concede, because Alice hasn't "won" yet. Per the linked question, he's allowed to do this. Meanwhile, Alice refuses to win: she can win quickly whenever she wishes to simply by casting Entreat the Angels for the miracle cost, but is continuously placing Entreat the Angels back on top of her deck with Jace's Brainstorm ability instead of casting it. It's not a hard lock like in the linked question, but if Alice ever feels threatened she'll cast Brainstorm at the end of Bob's turn, miracle the Entreat the Angels, and win.

It's game 1 and from Alice's point of view the best result is to wait until there's 2 minutes left on the clock, then miracle Entreat the Angels - she cannot lose the match then.

Is her behavior punishable? If the answer to this hinges on the fact that Entreat being on top of Alice's deck is not known to Bob, what if Bob already knew Alice had drawn Entreat earlier (e.g. via Thoughtseize), or perhaps even Alice had already made 6 Angel tokens, she's just passing the turn without attacking?

  • I don't see how it would be but I think it is a different issue to refuse to win a game than to refuse to concede. Not to mention that would all depend on the other player not running out of cards.
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 23:33
  • Perhaps it could be claimed as unsporting? I don't know, which is why I'm asking.
    – user22925
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 23:35
  • No, it's not punishable. Players are not required to make a winning move, whatever the reason is. Alice, by waiting, increases chances for Bob to come back to the game. That's something to consider too. Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 3:45
  • Same as before: If you take your turns in a timely manner, it's not slow play. If you miss out on your chance to win for whatever reason, that's your problem. What you have to watch out for is leaving the game in the same state as it was previously. That's not allowed.
    – ikegami
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 3:52
  • Can you explain why it would be to her advantage to wait until there's 2 minutes left on the clock? If her concern is that attacking right now could result in some unforseen counter from Bob, then she isn't refusing to win, she's simply playing very cautiously.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


I would say that this is not in violation of any rules. By taking more turns than necessary, Alice is giving Bob additional chances to draw outs to this situation, so it is not unambiguously to Alice's advantage to draw this out. And Alice is drawing two cards per turn, so Alice only has 15 to 20 turns before she either decks out or plays Entreat and wins. If each player plays at a reasonable pace and takes few actions each turn, they could probably finish with more than that much time on the clock. If Alice slows down her pace of play to make the game last longer, then it becomes a clear case of slow play, and probably stalling.

In addition, each player has a fast way to resolve this situation if they believe it is not to their advantage. If Bob believes he would be better off if Alice won quickly, he can always concede. And if Alice believes she would be better off winning quickly, she can do so as described in the question.

Furthermore, there are perfectly valid strategic reasons to play slowly like Alice is doing here. For example, she may suspect that Bob has a Dovin's Veto in hand, and be trying to find a different spell to draw it out without risking the Entreat.

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