Multiple stacks for a single spellcast?

Asked by Powerhouse64 4 years ago

Suppose you're playing a multiplayer EDH game and Player 1 plays an overloaded Street Spasm for 2 damage (4 colorless and 2 R spent) to deal 2 damage to each creature they don't control that doesn't have flying. Both Player 2 and Player 3 will lose all creatures they control to this (they're both playing token/weenie decks).

Both Player 2 and Player 3 don't want their creatures to be wiped and Player 3 knows that Player 2 will try to counter the Street Spasm right away.

Player 2 plays a Counterspell as soon as Street Spasm is put on the stack. Player 3 is worried that Player 1 may have their own counterspell in hand (let's say it's a Cancel ). However, Player 3 has an Akroma's Blessing in hand that he can use here to save his creatures, but he was hoping to save it for later.

Suppose Player 3 does nothing at first, the Counterspell is put on the stack, Player 1 puts a Cancel on the stack in response. The Cancel resolves, the Counterspell is canceled, and the Street Spasm is left on the sack. Can Player 3 play his Akroma's Blessing now even though he passed priority when he chose not to respond earlier?

Can one spell (in this case the Street Spasm ) have multiple branching stacks on it? Each stack would resolve on an individual case (the Counterspell and Cancel stack would resolve, and then the Akroma's Blessing stack would follow), but once one stack is resolved, could another stack be started?

merrowMania says... #1

Short Answer: Yes, longer answer to come

April 7, 2015 10:47 a.m.

merrowMania says... Accepted answer #2

Longer Answer: In order for the spell or ability in top of the stack to resolve, all players must pass priority. The passing of priority is restarted if a player does something (like casts Counterspell or Cancel)

116.4. If all players pass in succession (that is, if all players pass without taking any actions in between passing), the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves or, if the stack is empty, the phase or step ends.

April 7, 2015 10:52 a.m.

Powerhouse64 says... #3

Thanks! I appreciate your help!

April 7, 2015 11:33 a.m.

Devonin says... #4

This gives a misleading view of the stack.

There are not branching or multiple stacks. There is only ever one stack.

The stack goes like this:

Player 1 puts Street Spasm onto the stack, passes priority.
Player 2 puts Counterspell onto the stack, passes priority.
Player 3 passes priority
Player 1 puts Cancel onto the stack, passes priority.
Player 2 passes priority
Player 3 passes priority
(All players have now passed priority in succession, the topmost object on the stack resolves)

Cancel resolves, countering Counterspell. Counterspell is removed from the stack, and the active player gets priority. The stack still has Street Spasm on it from earlier. This is the same stack.

Player 1 passes priority
Player 2 passes priority
Player 3 casts Akroma's Blessing, passes priority
Player 1 passes priority
Player 2 passes priority
(All players have now passed priority in succession, the topmost object on the stack resolves)

Akroma's Blessing resolves, and the active player gets priority.

Player 1 passes priority.
Player 2 passes priority.
Player 3 passes priority.
(All players have now passed priority in succession, the topmost object on the stack resolves)
Street Spasm Resolves and the active player gets priority.
Player 1 has priority, and the stack is empty.

April 7, 2015 12:32 p.m.

Powerhouse64 says... #5

So in this scenario where the players go in numerical order, doesn't Player 3 have an advantage? If he had a Counterspell for Street Spasm couldn't he wait to see if Player 2 played his Counterspell first? If Player 2 plays one, Player 3 doesn't have to use his (ignoring the Cancel played on the Counterspell mentioned above).

To me, the fact that there's an additional player that could respond to the Street Spasm before Player 3 gives Player 3 a bit of an unfair advantage. The later you are in the turn order, the less likely it is that you'll have to be the one to respond to a major threat.

Since priority passes from the active player, then on each player's turn, the "last" player rotates (i.e. on Player 2's turn, Player 3 is the buffer before Player 1) so that seems to balance it somewhat, but if one player (Player 1) has the majority of the major threat type spells, the player following them (Player 2)is put in a situation where they're forced to use their counterspells first to prevent a threat, whereas the last player (Player N where N is the number of players) is allowed to wait and see if all the other players respond before they're forced to take the mantle of countering the threat.

Assuming all decks have equal threats that's not a problem, but you're at a serious advantage if your turn is right before the major threat player, since everyone else before you has the option to counter a threat before you. Is that not the case?

April 7, 2015 12:43 p.m.

Devonin says... #6

When a given threat is played, sure, the person to the right of the caster has a small advantage in that they can wait until everybody else has a chance to respond before they are obligated to respond or not, but as you said, the player to the right of the caster changes with each caster, and which player gets priority after resolution changes each turn.

If only one player is playing major threats, I'd argue the other players suck at deck building.

April 7, 2015 12:49 p.m.

Powerhouse64 says... #7

Hahaha, that's a fair argument. Thanks for clearing that up!

April 7, 2015 12:50 p.m.

This discussion has been closed