Please keep the forum protocol in mind when posting.

Competitive REL » Post: Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

June 18, 2017 05:44:22 AM

Thomas Ralph
Judge (Level 3 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

This question arose on mtgUK rules & judge questions FB group and has attracted varying responses from judges.

Axe has 5 energy counters and casts Harnessed Lightning targeting Nailgun's Thing in the Ice which has one ice counter. Nailgun responds by casting an Anticipate. Axe places Harnessed Lightning in the graveyard without modifying his energy total or declaring anything and moves on with his turn.

May Nailgun assume that Axe has done 3 damage to Awoken Horror (which is the implication of the legal gamestate that has been reached)? Or is he required to correct Axe's assumption that Harnessed Lightning has been countered on resolution, as it would be with (say) a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy?

Edited Thomas Ralph (June 18, 2017 05:47:33 AM)

June 18, 2017 06:05:42 AM

jonathan dey
Judge (Level 1 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

im only L1 and havent done much Comp REL events so my opinion may be wrong/ irrelevent
but my personal answer is that costs must be declared on resolution.. with no declaration, the spell hasnt finished resolving..
if an opponent only intended on using 3 energy (another spell in hand may kill it).. they would specify that they where only using 3 (because its a weird line of play) to make it clear what was happening next.

in this situation i 100% believe Nailgun is happy to make out the spell didnt resolve.. because honestly.. who would only use 3 energy when they could kill it?
and Axs is aiming for tricking the opponent with a technicallity.


June 18, 2017 06:13:28 AM

Nicola DiPasquale
Judge (Level 3 (Judge Academy))

USA - Northeast

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Originally posted by MTR:

Free information consists of:

Details of current game actions and past game actions that still affect the game state.
The name of any visible object.
The number type of any counter.
The physical status (whether it’s tapped, attached to another permanent, face down, etc.) and current zone of any object.
Player life totals and the game score of the current match.
The contents of each player’s mana pool.
The current step and/or phase and which player(s) are active.

If Nailgun asks Axe anything about the Harnessed Lightning then he must be truthful about the game state as per section 4.1 of the MTR.
If there is any future communication or confusion about the Harnessed Lightning and how much damage was dealt or if it was countered, Nailgun must correct Axe's assumption. Take for example if Nailgun blocks the attacking Awoken Horror with a 4/4 Beast Token causing lethal damage later in the turn. Otherwise players can continue to play as normal.

June 18, 2017 06:32:18 AM

jonathan dey
Judge (Level 1 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Originally posted by Nicola DiPasquale:

Originally posted by MTR:

Free information consists of:

Details of current game actions and past game actions that still affect the game state.
The name of any visible object.
The number type of any counter.
The physical status (whether it’s tapped, attached to another permanent, face down, etc.) and current zone of any object.
Player life totals and the game score of the current match.
The contents of each player’s mana pool.
The current step and/or phase and which player(s) are active.

If Nailgun asks Axe anything about the Harnessed Lightning then he must be truthful about the game state as per section 4.1 of the MTR.
If there is any future communication or confusion about the Harnessed Lightning and how much damage was dealt or if it was countered, Nailgun must correct Axe's assumption. Take for example if Nailgun blocks the attacking Awoken Horror with a 4/4 Beast Token causing lethal damage later in the turn. Otherwise players can continue to play as normal.

But if Nailgun is pretending it fizzled… Axe would know no different… and it would go un noticed….

June 18, 2017 07:37:10 AM

Gediminas Usevičius
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper, Tournament Organizer

Europe - North

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

If it were any other spell, like Murder Nailgun is obligated to announce it and put hisAwoken Horror into graveyard. With Harnessed Lightning there has been many and long discussions with no clear answer (as I remember). My take on this is that if we come to a legal game state (by following legal actions), players can stay silent and continue playing.

Edited Gediminas Usevičius (June 18, 2017 07:37:41 AM)

June 18, 2017 07:54:16 AM

Nicola DiPasquale
Judge (Level 3 (Judge Academy))

USA - Northeast

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Misunderstanding the state of the game is fine; however, allowing a player to act upon that misunderstanding is no good. If a player's opponent allows them to act upon that misunderstanding then they are probably in the realm of UC - Cheating. If there is a misunderstanding and no actions are taken regarding that misunderstanding then there is no foul here, play may continue as normal. The section that I pointed out earlier in the MTR clearly states that players cannot allow their opponents to act on a misunderstanding of the state of the game or of past actions.

Again what I posted also speaks to that, if asked or if an action is taken regarding that information it MUST be clear to both players what the state of the game is. If there is no action taken, or no question asked then you cannot really know for sure what your opponent thinks about the state of the game, and you are not obligated to do anything about that.

June 18, 2017 08:02:20 AM

Jakob Lernhage
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy)), Tournament Organizer

Europe - North

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Originally posted by jonathan dey:

Originally posted by jonathan dey:


Thats a cheating investigation. So we din considering it right now (but you should on the spot). he/she cant't leta a gamestate that he/she know is wrong stand withouth correct ingen it.
Letting your 7/8 Stay on the bf with 3 damage is legal.


As Marshall points put from time to time, competetive assumes you are familiar with the rule and cards. That includes knowing that transform is not a flicker effect.
Wold allo this on comp while not at reggular since thats another focus.

June 18, 2017 08:25:21 AM

jonathan dey
Judge (Level 1 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

i dislike the ‘if it ends legal its fine’ approach.. but i ubderstand why.

at comp rel they should know that it resolves and they need to do relevent stuff.. but it seems a little harsh on newer players

if investigated:

'how much energy was announced'

'none but their energy didnt change.. previous Harnessed ligjtning resolutions wherent announced..'

'when it wasnt announced what was the usual assumed result?'
'the creature died'

'then you know what the intention was'

i would be all in support of warning/ GL/DQ for tryin to manipulate/ cheat the opponent out of their spell…

June 18, 2017 08:48:04 AM

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3 (Judge Academy)), Hall of Fame

USA - Northwest

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Nicola has it right; Nailgun may assume a legal gamestate, resulting from a legal progression of events, because Axe failed to communicate.

It would be sporting of Nailgun to ask, and make sure Axe isn't confused; it's not unsporting, but only competitive, to allow a legal mistake.

d:^D

June 18, 2017 08:50:37 AM

jonathan dey
Judge (Level 1 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

Originally posted by Scott Marshall:

Nicola has it right; Nailgun may assume a legal gamestate, resulting from a legal progression of events, because Axe failed to communicate.

It would be sporting of Nailgun to ask, and make sure Axe isn't confused; it's not unsporting, but only competitive, to allow a legal mistake.

d:^D

when put like that; makes sense at comp i guess.
what about at casual reg?

June 18, 2017 09:07:14 AM

jonathan dey
Judge (Level 1 (Judge Academy)), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

after thinking and talking..

at comp i agree with Scott Marshall.
and at fnm/ regular (assuming nothings changed/ caught quickly).. i would allow a chance to learn and correct..

June 18, 2017 12:55:41 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

Maple Ridge, Canada

Is a player obliged to tell his opponent his spell was not countered?

This discussion (https://apps.magicjudges.org/forum/topic/31297/), along with many similar ones, has come up several times in the past. The consensus is that if the game state is legal at all times, there hasn't been a problem. All actions that the players have taken are legal- even if we know that the player probably didn't mean to do that, we don't take those strategical considerations into account.