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If you cast a card with Madness by discarding it in the cleanup step, are you able to pay for it's alternate casting cost with a Dark Ritual?

From my basic knowledge of the game, you wouldn't be able to, as neither player gets priority before the cost of the discarded card needs to be paid, and as Dark Ritual isn't a mana ability, you cannot pay costs with it. Though reading through the comprehensive rules gives me a headache, and it's not obvious to me what the answer is.

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You can pay for madness using dark ritual

Madness needs to be a little bit complicated in order to work within the rules properly.

702.34a Madness is a keyword that represents two abilities. The first is a static ability that functions while the card with madness is in a player’s hand. The second is a triggered ability that functions when the first ability is applied. “Madness [cost]” means “If a player would discard this card, that player discards it, but exiles it instead of putting it into their graveyard” and “When this card is exiled this way, its owner may cast it by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. If that player doesn’t, they put this card into their graveyard.”

The important detail here is that the madness cost is paid as part of the resolution of a triggered ability. While normally no player gets priority during cleanup, there is an exception if abilities are triggered

514.3. Normally, no player receives priority during the cleanup step, so no spells can be cast and no abilities can be activated. However, this rule is subject to the following exception: 514.3a At this point, the game checks to see if any state-based actions would be performed and/or any triggered abilities are waiting to be put onto the stack (including those that trigger “at the beginning of the next cleanup step”). If so, those state-based actions are performed, then those triggered abilities are put on the stack, then the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities. Once the stack is empty and all players pass in succession, another cleanup step begins.

So Dark Ritual can be played while these madness trigger is waiting on the stack.

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  • Does that exception also permit the madness-cast card being counterspelled? – Yakk Jul 20 at 13:09
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    @Yakk Quoting from the Quote: "Then the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities." That is what permits it being counterspelled :) – Syndic Jul 20 at 13:32
  • Good answer! As a one line summary "nobody gets to do anything during cleanup unless something unusual happens". This can lead to some fun, like a player with The Gitrog Monster being able to discard a land from an 8 card hand, draw a card, and repeat this as long as they can discard lands, finally having the opportunity to cast spells or activate abilities once the right cards have been drawn! – Samthere Jul 24 at 11:12
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Yes, you can pay Madness costs with Dark Ritual even on the cleanup step discard.

In order to pay a mana cost, you either need to already have the required mana floating, or you need to activate a mana source when it comes to paying that cost. You are correct in that spells, like Dark Ritual, are not mana sources:

605.5b A spell can never be a mana ability, even if it could put mana into a player’s mana pool when it resolves. It’s cast and resolves just like any other spell. Some older cards were printed with the card type “mana source”; these cards have received errata in the Oracle card reference and are now instants.

You are also correct in that players don't get priority during the cleanup step, so you could neither have mana floating (since the mana pool emptied at the end of the previous step), nor could you cast Dark Ritual before or during the resolution of Madness.

However, since Madness results in a triggered ability going on the stack during the cleanup step, an exception applies:

702.34a Madness is a keyword that represents two abilities. The first is a static ability that functions while the card with madness is in a player’s hand. The second is a triggered ability that functions when the first ability is applied. “Madness [cost]” means “If a player would discard this card, that player discards it, but exiles it instead of putting it into their graveyard” and “When this card is exiled this way, its owner may cast it by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. If that player doesn’t, they put this card into their graveyard.”

514.3. Normally, no player receives priority during the cleanup step, so no spells can be cast and no abilities can be activated. However, this rule is subject to the following exception:

4.3a At this point, the game checks to see if any state-based actions would be performed and/or any triggered abilities are waiting to be put onto the stack (including those that trigger “at the beginning of the next cleanup step”). If so, those state-based actions are performed, then those triggered abilities are put on the stack, then the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities. Once the stack is empty and all players pass in succession, another cleanup step begins.

The Madness trigger goes on the stack after you discard in the cleanup step, causing players to get rounds of priority until the stack is empty and everyone has passed in succession. Because of that, you may cast Dark Ritual and put it on the stack above Madness. It resolves before the Madness trigger does, and you can pay the Madness cost with that mana.

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