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My opponent activated Ashiok, Dream Render's loyalty ability. Gaea's Blessing was among the four cards milled. I would expect that Gaea's Blessing would trigger and resolve on top of the stack, thus saving my graveyard, but its trigger did not even appear and my graveyard was exiled. What precisely happens here?

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Abilities that trigger in the middle of another spell or ability resolving don't resolve or even go on the stack until the original spell or ability has finished resolving. Ashiok's ability moves cards from a player's library to their graveyard, then exiles the opponents' graveyards. That's all one ability; Gaea's Blessing's triggered ability has to wait for it to finish before being put on the stack and eventually resolving.

The most relevant rule is 603.3:

Once an ability has triggered, its controller puts it on the stack as an object that’s not a card the next time a player would receive priority. See rule 117, “Timing and Priority.” [...]

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  • My understanding of your answer is that the Gaea's Blessing trigger would occur after the graveyard has been exiled, and then shuffle the now empty graveyard into the library. However, this seems inconsistent with the statement in the question that "[Gaea's Blessing's] trigger did not even appear" - am I misinterpreting your answer? – Philip Kendall Jul 18 at 8:31
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    Your interpretation is correct. I'm guessing that the asker is playing Magic Arena. Maybe the ability appeared and resolved very quickly, apparently doing nothing. Or maybe there's a bug in how Arena handles two zone changes in one resolving spell or ability. Or it could be something else; I can't account for what they saw, but I'm confident in what should happen. – murgatroid99 Jul 18 at 15:08
  • @murgatroid99 Since the graveyard is empty at the end of Ashiok's ability, there are no legal targets for the Gaia's trigger - MTGa handles situations with no player interaction like that very quickly behind the scenes, particularly if neither player has any instant speed effects that can respond - and unless the asker had known the top card of their library (very unlikely since it was formerly the 5th card down), they wouldn't even notice it was shuffled before the trigger had simply finished resolving as normal. – Andrew Jul 19 at 14:06
  • I understand that you're not saying that the ability doesn't resolve, but that's what "there are no legal target" normally means. Gaea's Blessing's ability doesn't have any targets at all. – murgatroid99 Jul 19 at 14:54
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    Yes, that's right. Technically, there's also "Gaea's Blessing's ability triggers" after the first sentence. An ability triggers as soon as the relevant event happens, it just waits to go on the stack until whatever is currently happening has finished. – murgatroid99 Jul 21 at 14:40

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