I had a miss click while playing arena and played a search card and it automatically showed me my deck. In the paper magic could you play a search card and choose not to look at your deck if you had scry something to the top and you just want another affect of the card, I had Aetherflux Reservoir in play and mainly just wanted the life gain from playing a cheap spell.

  • related - boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/11831/….
    – Neil Meyer
    Dec 30, 2020 at 17:22
  • @Styxsksu, it depends on the specific wording of the card. Some cards require you to search, some cards say "may" search. Can you give the exact cards you are asking about here?
    – John
    Dec 30, 2020 at 18:10
  • It was enlighten tutor but was wondering if the shuffle was required or just a function of playing on arena.
    – Styxsksu
    Dec 31, 2020 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


Yes. (Unless the card says "You may search your library for ... If you do, shuffle it afterwards.)

608.2c The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written.

If the spell tells you to search your library, you search your library. Most of these place restrictions on what cards you search for; in those cases, actually finding a card is not required:

701.19a To search for a card in a zone, look at all cards in that zone (even if it’s a hidden zone) and find a card that matches the given description.

701.19b If a player is searching a hidden zone for cards with a stated quality, such as a card with a certain card type or color, that player isn’t required to find some or all of those cards even if they’re present in that zone.

701.19d If a player is searching a hidden zone simply for a quantity of cards, such as “a card” or “three cards,” that player must find that many cards (or as many as possible, if the zone doesn’t contain enough cards).

  • Essentially, if you haven't touched your library (except drawing and milling) since you last shuffled it, you could argue that you don't really need to shuffle it if you don't actually search for anything (I don't know how official tournament rules are, but casually it really should not matter). But if you know what the top of bottom card it because you've scried, then you can't get away from shuffling.
    – Arthur
    Dec 26, 2020 at 17:02
  • unless it says may or another effect prevents or modifies it (like aven mindcensor or leonin arbiter)
    – Andrew
    Dec 26, 2020 at 18:28
  • 1
    Also that's not 100% correct on not being required to find a card - if the search has criteria that would be hidden info (rampant growth requires the found card to be basic land) you can choose to fail to find even if there are cards that meet the condition in the deck, but for something like Grim Tutor (search for a card), there's no criteria that is on hidden information so you must find a card unless you are searching an empty library. blogs.magicjudges.org/rulestips/2011/03/failing-to-find
    – Andrew
    Dec 26, 2020 at 18:31
  • this answer is incorrect, you can always fail to find as long it is a hidden zone.
    – Neil Meyer
    Dec 30, 2020 at 17:20
  • 2
    @NeilMeyer The answer used to say that until my comment, with supporting info got it changed, can you please support your comment? Most searches have restrictions on the cards they can find, by type or possibly name, and you can fail to find based on this hidden info, but some (mostly black) searches just require that you look for a card - if your library has cards in it or not is not hidden info and thus you must find one of them in these cases.
    – Andrew
    Dec 31, 2020 at 19:49

In the specific instance (from OP's comment that the card was Enlightened Tutor):

Search your library for an artifact or enchantment card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.

All these are mandatory actions. Glorfindel gives the rule that says you may "fail to find" (701.19b applies; "artifact or enchantment"). If you do fail to find,

609.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

Means that you won't reveal "no card", and after shuffling, you won't put "no card" on top, but it is possible to shuffle, so you do.

So here you may not choose to not search. You also may not choose to not shuffle (for obvious reasons!) This would also apply in paper, but it's likely "at the kitchen table" that everyone equated "fail to find" with "don't search", and didn't realize the effect that had on known cards in the deck (or shortcutted it frequently when it didn't matter, and didn't realize it's different when it does matter. I have certainly seen on YouTube that shortcut taken in Commander games - when everyone agreed that no card's places were known).

  • Note: The OP is playing Arena. Enlightened tutor is not in Arena. However, Idyllic Tutor is. I suspect that is the card of interest. Wording (for purpose of this question) is essentially identical for both cards, so this doesn't change your answer.
    – John
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:39

You are allowed to fail to find if you are searching a hidden zone. Your deck specifically is a hidden zone.

701.18b If a player is searching a hidden zone for cards with a stated quality, such as a card with a certain card type or color, that player isn’t required to find some or all of those cards even if they’re present in that zone.

You are required to shuffle your deck afterwards regardless if you failed to find or not.

  • This is already covered by Glorfindel's answer; you also seem to be using an outdated version of the CRs - "search" is 701.19 in the latest rules. Dec 30, 2020 at 18:33

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