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My opponent controls Smothering Tithe, Faerie Mastermind, and Training Grounds, and they are activating Faerie Mastermind's ability repeatedly to draw their whole deck

I Deadly Rollick'd their Faerie Mastermind to stop the infinite loop. Does that actually stop the combo, or can they activate it an infinite amount of times before the Deadly Rollick resolves?

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  • I edited your question to make it say more clearly what I think you were asking. If that's not what you meant, feel free to make your own edits to clarify.
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 23, 2023 at 15:19
  • I'm umming and ahhing about removing "infinite" from the question, both because no combo can ever be done infinitely (only an arbitrarily large finite number of times) and because this specific combo starts to fail once any player draws from an empty library and leaves the game. Dec 23, 2023 at 20:15
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    @PhilipKendall In MtG it's still usually referred to as infinite when a combo can be executed an arbitrary number of times.
    – Andrew
    Dec 26, 2023 at 16:53

3 Answers 3

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Removing the Faerie Mastermind can stop the combo, but only if the opponent doesn't have enough mana to activate the ability again.

The main action the player with the combo takes is activating Faerie Mastermind's ability, which can be done at instant speed because it has no timing restrictions. Then if at least two opponents don't pay for Smothering Tithe, they get refunded the full cost of the ability so they can immediately activate it again. So, the main result of casting a removal spell is denying them that refund. If they have enough mana to activate the ability anyway, they can just keep going without the refund. But if they don't have that mana, the combo stops.

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Casting your Deadly Rollick puts it on the stack on top of their latest Faerie Mastermind activation, like murgatroid said as long as they have the mana to start the combo over again, they can keep it going while Rollick is on the stack.

If you want to stop the combo when they have the mana to activate it on stack, you would need split second removal to stop the combo since split second stops anyone from activating abilities while it is on the stack. Sudden Death or Sudden Shock to kill the Mastermind, or Krosan Grip could remove the Smothering Tithe (or Training Grounds) to stop the combo from being mana neutral.

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My guess would be that you're referring to the following combo:

  1. Use Training Ground to pay only 1U for Faerie Mastermind's activated ability.

  2. Faerie Mastermind's ability resolves.

  3. You and they draw a card.

  4. Assuming you don't have enough mana to prevent it, Smothering Tithe's triggered ability goes on the stack.

  5. Smothering Tithe's triggered ability resolves, giving them a treasure.

  6. They use the treasure to perform Step 1 again.

This doesn't work unless they have more than one Training Grounds, Smothering Tithe, or opponent, and the wording "My opponent" rather than "One of my opponents" implies a two player game. But I'll assume you just failed to mention that it's a multiplayer game.

Once they perform Step 1, they can't go on to Step 2 without passing priority, at which point you'll have a chance to cast Deadly Rollick. This will then resolve before Faerie Mastermind's ability. Faerie Mastermind's ability will still resolve even though its source is gone, but they won't be able to activate the ability any further.

The key is that they if want to use the Treasure from Smothering Tithe to activate Faerie Mastermind's ability an additional time, they have to pass priority before the trigger giving them a treasure resolves.

This is different from, say, Lethal Vapors; since Lethal Vapors' ability doesn't require any resources as a cost, a player can hold priority while they activate it as many times as they want. With Lethal Vapors, you can't prevent the activation by destroying it, because you can't destroy it until you get priority, and you don't get priority until they pass priority, and they don't pass priority until they've already activated it as many times as they want.

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    The question is tagged mtg-commander, I take that as a very big clue this is multi-player. Dec 24, 2023 at 21:00

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