According to the Magic: the Gathering tournament rules, when time has been called on a game during single-elimination rounds:

In single-elimination rounds, matches may not end in a draw. If all players have equal game wins at the end of additional turns, the player with the highest life total wins the current game. In the event all players have equal life totals (or are between games and the game wins are tied), the game/match continues with an additional state-based action: if a player does not have the highest life total, they lose the game.

What happens if I have a Platinum Angel on the battlefield when this occurs?


2 Answers 2


First a small disclaimer: I'm not a judge. This answer is combined from information I found from Platinum Angel's rulings, comments of MTG judges from the Internet and common sense. For example a head judge of a tournament can turn over this ruling. This IS NOT an official ruling.

You will lose the game. Platinum Angel only prevents you losing from game effects.

Rulings on Platinum Angel:


No game effect can cause you to lose the game or cause any opponent to win the game while you control Platinum Angel. It doesn’t matter whether you have 0 or less life, you’re forced to draw a card while your library is empty, you have ten or more poison counters, you’re dealt combat damage by Phage the Untouchable, your opponent has Mortal Combat with twenty or more creature cards in their graveyard, or so on. You keep playing.


Other circumstances can still cause you to lose the game, however. You will lose a game if you concede, if you’re penalized with a Game Loss or a Match Loss during a sanctioned tournament due to a DCI rules infraction, or if your Magic Online(R) game clock runs out of time.

Normally Platinum Angel would prevent you from losing to state-based actions, but it appears that the "sudden death" SBA is special.

Best explanation I could find to this is in this post: https://apps.magicjudges.org/forum/topic/32928/

In the single elimination portion of a tournament, what happens if a player would lose to the “sudden death” rule while controlling Exquisite Archangel?

My understanding is that they would still lose the game, because the sudden death rule is akin to a Game Loss in that it bypasses all the rules from the CR (in the same way that a Platinum Angel cannot protect you from sudden death), but I'd like confirmation.

Your understanding is correct. As with its predecessors, Exquisite Archangel cannot prevent a player from losing to sudden death rules in a timed single-elimination match.

  • 1
    It's not listed as being one of the ways you can still lose the game in the text you quoted, though, and it should stop a state-based action from losing you the game, right?
    – nick012000
    Feb 7, 2020 at 4:26
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    Normally, yes. In this case, no. Sudden death SBA is a special one. I'm unsure why is that. Maybe that is because it's only specified in MTR. Anyway, any "you can't lose the game" on a card cannot prevent this SBA from happening. Feb 7, 2020 at 7:43
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    @AulisRonkainen It's not a SBA at all. It's not a rule enforced from within the game, it's a tournament rule that comes from outside the game. Platinum Angel means the game can't make you lose, but it doesn't stop outside factors. If you die of a heart attack at the table with Platinum Angel down, you still lose; if you assault a player and get disqualified and dragged off the property in disgrace, you still lose. Feb 7, 2020 at 11:51
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    @doppelgreener Okay, you're probably right, but do you know why the MTR states that it is a SBA? Is it an error or is there some hidden meaning to that statement? Doesn't state-based action have the same meaning if it is in the MTR? Feb 7, 2020 at 11:59
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    @AulisRonkainen Oops, I see it: there's multiple parts to the MTR game loss conditions and one of them is in fact an SBA, my apologies. Then, yeah, I'm on the same page as you now: it does seem special and unusual in that it's inserting a rule into the SBA list. (I think it's special because of pragmatic reasons: "dammit we have a tournament to play, you lose already.") Feb 7, 2020 at 12:04

You will lose the game, as far as the tournament is concerned.

There's a difference between the game's rules and the tournament's rules.

101.1 refers to "these rules", the comprehensive rules. This rule allows cards to break the game's rules.

There is no tournament rule which allows cards to break tournament rules.

Hypothetically, you could receive a tournament loss in your scenario, but you and your opponent decide to keep playing and you may end up winning the game.

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