Having spent time reading the wonderful answers here on the marvels of layers, I thought I'd throw another one in the mix...

I have an empty board, 7 mana, and a Daxos, Blessed by the Sun and Harmonious Archon in hand. I can cast both, but I want to maximise the outcome.

My understanding says that if I play the Archon first followed by Daxos, he will have 4 toughness, or more if I increase devotion. If I do it the other way, he will have an unchangeable 3 toughness.

This is predicated on my assumption that Daxos' toughness effect is a continuous effect that is determined in the same layer as the Archon. Is this correct?


No, he will be 3 either way.

Daxos's ability is a Characteristic-Defining Ability, as defined in 604.3a: It defines the power/toughness, it is printed on the card, it doesn't directly affect the characteristics of other objects, it is not granted to itself, and it is not only set conditionally.

As described in 613.3, Layer 7a is where Characteristic-Defining Abilities are set. Effects that set power/toughness to a specific number that are not Characteristic-Defining are set in Layer 7b. As such, Daxos's ability will always apply first, then Harmonious Archon will always overwrite it.

It is also worth mentioning that while Layer 7 has multiple sublayers, 613.2 specifies that in Layers 1-6 that Characteristic-Defining abilities are always applied before any other effects.

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