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Using "Demonic Hordes" as an example, since that's the card that made me think of this:

https://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1154

If I have two opponents and don't pay the upkeep cost, who gets to choose which land I sacrifice? Is it simply the next player in turn/APNAP order? I can't imagine what else it would be, but is there a specific section in the comprehensive rules where this is explicitly stated?

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You choose an opponent. That opponent chooses a land for you to sacrifice.

At the beginning of your upkeep, unless you pay BlackBlackBlack, tap Demonic Hordes and sacrifice a land of an opponent's choice.

(You may choose a different opponent each upkeep that you do not pay BlackBlackBlack.)

From a 1995 ruling:

Choose a different opponent each time the effect applies.

(That link has a long list of such rulings for the cards that were available at the time)

For a more recent rules compilation, see https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Multiplayer

According to the comments, theses are now in section 601.5a

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  • interesting, is there anything in the comprehensive rules that helps with this? It seems like the rulings vary wildly for how to handle it! I can only imagine that there have been a lot more cards since 1995 that instruct and opponent to do something; are every one of them governed by arbitrary rulings in multiplayer games? – gbromios Sep 19 at 15:11
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    Well, it's not exactly arbitrary. Every instance of "opponent" is either "target opponent" (i.e., you choose, or the one you had previously chosen), or, for wide effects, "all opponents". Which is which is usually obvious. But see this for more: mtg.gamepedia.com/Multiplayer – L. Scott Johnson Sep 19 at 15:53
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    For a related question: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/23587/…. The relevant rule is 601.3a "If there is more than one opponent who could make such a choice, the spell’s controller decides which of those opponents will make the choice." – Becuzz Sep 19 at 19:32
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    @L.ScottJohnson [mtg: Captive Audience] says "Captive Audience enters the battlefield under the control of an opponent of your choice." That's different from "target opponent"; if it says "target opponent", you can't use it on an opponent with hexproof. – Acccumulation Sep 20 at 5:52
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The card wording and oracle wording are subtly different. The card says

Pay BBB during your upkeep or the Hordes becomes tapped and you lose a land of opponent's choice.

The oracle wording says

At the beginning of your upkeep, unless you pay BBB, tap Demonic Hordes and sacrifice a land of an opponent's choice.

So according to the Oracle wording, you sacrifice a land of an opponent's choice. Now, I don't know if the MtG rules explicitly say "When an effect that you control refers to an object or players when more than one would be valid, you choose which one it refers to", I think it falls under common sense. If a card says "Sacrifice a permanent you control", it means "Sacrifice a permanent you control of your choice". While my cursory search of the rules didn't find that particular principle articulated, it did find this:

602.3. Some abilities specify that one of their controller’s opponents does something the controller would normally do while it’s being activated, such as choose a mode or choose targets. In these cases, the opponent does so when the ability’s controller normally would do so.
602.3a If there is more than one opponent who could make such a choice, the ability’s controller decides which of those opponents will make the choice.

Normally, when you are instructed to sacrifice a land, you can choose which land to sacrifice. Here you are being told to allow an opponent to choose, so 602.3a tells you that you can choose which opponent will make the choice.

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  • @Andrew ? That doesn't explicitly say exactly what I was talking about (which is that in general, when there are more than one possibility, the controller chooses). I cited the rule for abilities that says that about players. You cited the rule for spells, but it's Demonic Hordes' ability that is being discussed, not a spell. – Acccumulation Sep 23 at 4:14

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