Hey there everyone! CK the resident Man In Black is back with this latest installment of Lens of Clarity. I’m not one to write lengthy intros so without further ado…hang on tight, everyone, it’s going to be a wild ride down the rabbit hole!

Let’s start by considering the following scenario:

In a three-player FFA between Kolaghan the Storm’s Fury, Isperia, Supreme Judge and Sygg, River Cutthroat. Kolaghan is in the driver seat, being at 14 life compared to Isperia at four and Sygg at three. In a bid to stall the board, Isperia summons an Admonition Angel, plays a land to exile Kolaghan’s Bogardan Hellkite, and passes her turn.

Kolaghan untaps and draws Agonizing Demise. Can he win this turn?

I’ll give you three minutes to think this over. Excuse me while I go make some tea…

…and I’m back! Do you have an answer for me?

Can I venture a guess and say that you’re going to respond on the affirmative that yes, by condemning the proud angel and her owner to a ghastly death, Kolaghan can then shoot Sygg in the face with the ETB trigger of Bogardan Hellkite?

What if I tell you that this won’t go the way you think it will?

Readers, this is the topic I’ll be exploring today – what happens in the afterlife!

Or more precisely, “What exactly happens when a player leaves the game?

***

Consulting our good friend the Comprehensive Rules, we find that rule 800.4 pretty much covers everything that we need to know. In fact, looking at the relevant sub-rules, the examples provided are so concise that I’m tempted to simply copy-and-paste them here and voila, article done. Of course I won’t do that. I’ll try to provide examples to back up the entries without examples, and give insight into those that do have.

800.4a When a player leaves the game, all objects (an ability on the stack, a card, a copy of a card, a token, a spell, a permanent, or an emblem – CR109.1) owned by that player leave the game and any effects which give that player control of any objects or players end. Then, if that player controlled any objects on the stack not represented by cards, those objects cease to exist. Then, if there are any objects still controlled by that player, those objects are exiled. This is not a state-based action. It happens as soon as the player leaves the game. If the player who left the game had priority at the time he or she left, priority passes to the next player in turn order who’s still in the game.

Wrecking EDH Faces Since Forever. No Seriously This Card Is Good.

The examples provided by the CR to illustrate this rule are pretty comprehensive and easy to grok, so I’ll just quote them as they are.

  • Alex casts Mind Control, an Aura that reads, “You control enchanted creature,” on Bianca’s Assault Griffin. If Alex leaves the game, so does Mind Control, and Assault Griffin reverts to Bianca’s control. If, instead, Bianca leaves the game, so does Assault Griffin, and Mind Control is put into Alex’s graveyard.
  • Alex casts Act of Treason, which reads, in part, “Gain control of target creature until end of turn,” targeting Bianca’s Runeclaw Bears. If Alex leaves the game, Act of Treason’s change-of-control effect ends and Runeclaw Bears reverts to Bianca’s control.
  • Alex casts Bribery, which reads, “Search target opponent’s library for a creature card and put that card onto the battlefield under your control. Then that player shuffles his or her library,” targeting Bianca. Alex puts Serra Angel onto the battlefield from Bianca’s library. If Bianca leaves the game, Serra Angel also leaves the game. If, instead, Alex leaves the game, Serra Angel is exiled.
  • Alex controls Genesis Chamber, which reads, “Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield, if Genesis Chamber is untapped, that creature’s controller puts a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token onto the battlefield.” If Alex leaves the game, all such Myr tokens that entered the battlefield under Alex’s control leave the game, and all such Myr tokens that entered the battlefield under any other player’s control remain in the game.

 

The third example appears pretty frequently in EDH games, especially if you’re facing a all-your-bases-are-belongs-to-me deck (or God forbid, multiple decks…I shudder at the thought of it). I’d like to touch a bit on that one.

Let’s say that instead of Serra Angel, Alex grabs Reveillark. If Bianca leaves the game, Reveillark leaves as well, and the controller of Reveillark – Alex, in this case, gets the sweet LTB trigger. If instead Alex leaves the game, then Reveillark is exiled there and then; Bianca doesn’t get it back in time to benefit from its LTB trigger.

800.4b If an object would change to the control of a player who has left the game, it doesn’t. If a token would enter the battlefield under the control of a player who has left the game, no token is created. If a player would be controlled by a player who has left the game, he or she isn’t.

Pretty straightforward, nothing much to talk about here. Moving on…

800.4c If an effect that gives a player still in the game control of an object ends, there is no other effect giving control of that object to another player in the game, and the object entered the battlefield under the control of a player who has left the game, the object is exiled. This is not a state-based action. It happens as soon as the control-changing effect ends.

As an example, I steal your Avacyn, Angel of Hope from your library with Bribery, she enters the battlefield under my control. You then gain control of her temporarily with Act of Treason, and deal me the sucker punch. My life drops below 0, I lose. Come your cleanup step, Avacyn will try to come back to my side…which is impossible, since I’m already out of the game. In this case, she is exiled. Poor Avacyn.

800.4d If an object that would be owned by a player who has left the game would be created in any zone, it isn’t created. If a triggered ability that would be controlled by a player who has left the game would be put onto the stack, it isn’t put on the stack.

Remember our very first scenario? THIS is the reason why Kolaghan won’t be able to delete both Isperia and Sygg with one play. Once Isperia loses and drops out of the game, her Admonition Angel leaves too. That triggered ability which gives everyone back what they were due, isn’t put on the stack. In other words, Bogardan Hellkite will linger in limbo for all eternity. Poor Hellkite.

800.4e If combat damage would be assigned to a player who has left the game, that damage isn’t assigned.

800.4f If an object requires a player who has left the game to make a choice, the controller of the object chooses another player to make that choice. If the original choice was to be made by an opponent of the controller of the object, that player chooses another opponent if possible.

You aren’t here, so you can’t do anything to us, and we can’t do anything to you. Fair enough.

800.4g If an effect requires information about a specific player, the effect uses the current information about that player if he or she is still in the game; otherwise, the effect uses the last known information about that player before he or she left the game.

I need to know that your life total went from 2500 to -2500 this turn, so that I know to pad my life total by an extra 5000 when I activate Tainted Sigil.

800.4h If a player leaves the game during his or her turn, that turn continues to its completion without an active player. If the active player would receive priority, instead the next player in turn order receives priority, or the top object on the stack resolves, or the phase or step ends, whichever is appropriate.

Sensei’s Divining Top on what would’ve been your end step, even though you died to your own attacking creature when you tried to eliminate Bob, and he cast Boros Fury-Shield.

800.4i When a player leaves the game, any continuous effects with durations that last until that player’s next turn or until a specific point in that turn will last until that turn would have begun. They neither expire immediately nor last indefinitely.

“Guys I gotta go, otherwise I’ll be late for dinner with the missus. My legacy to you all will be the -1/-0 effect from my Jace, Architect of Thought. Come on, it’s only for this turn cycle, don’t glare at me like that…”

800.4j When a player leaves the game, objects that player owns in the ante zone do not leave the game. This is an exception to rule 800.4a. See rule 407, “Ante.”

800.4k In a Planechase game, if the player designated as the planar controller would leave the game, instead the next player in turn order that wouldn’t leave the game becomes the planar controller, then the old planar controller leaves the game. See rule 309.5.

Not relevant to us – we don’t do ante anymore, and we don’t chase each other around the multiverse.*

***

So now we know how the game goes on after you leave the game. Before that, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves ”How do we leave the game?

There are only two ways out of a game – either you are taken out of the game against your own will, or you leave voluntarily by conceding the game. The latter option, when used inappropriately, can have some (un?)desirable consequences.

Imagine this very plausible scenario:

Don’t Be an Ass

I am at 1 life. I attack the defenseless Bob with Baneslayer Angel hoping to gain some life as insurance against Chloe’s growing horde of saproling tokens. In an attempt to spite me for constantly attacking him (and also to score brownie points with Chloe), he concedes. As a result, I don’t get to gain that important life buffer, and next turn I fall.

Conceding a game just so that one or more players don’t get to benefit (from on-damage triggers like Sword of Light and Shadow, for instance) can be seen as either a tactical play or an act of spite, depending on where you play or the people you play with. I’d advocate not doing this because come on, if the player has earned his win, then give him his due credit. I believe in karma, and you should too.

So there you have it, a deeper look into what happens in the aftermath of a player leaving the game. I hope this has been informative for you, as it has been for me.

Until next time!

@mtgtaikomint