Priority and Activated Abilities

Asked by diohelrivwsp 1 month ago

Got into a discussion about priority and activated abilities.

Let's say you have 20 cards left in your library and you use Blue Sun's Zenith to draw 19 cards, but a player responds with Kenrith, the Returned King and uses his 4th ability, "3U: Target player draws a card" and forces you to draw the last card in your library. According to rule 104.3c if a player is required to draw more cards than are left in their library, they draw the remaining cards and lose the game the next time a player would receive priority.

State-based actions occur any time a player receives priority and if you were to draw your last card you would lose immediately, correct?

Since Kenrith's ability is an activated ability it goes on the stack so couldn't you respond right after his ability with Elixir of Immortality and restock your library? I've heard no, unless you activated it before Kenrith's ability because of state-based actions checking your library, but activated abilities go on the stack and aren't done immediately.

Using the Elixir would effectively keep you from having 0 cards in your library unless a user cancels your activated ability with something like Disallow .

I've always understood it as using the Elixir as a response to Kenrith, but I've heard conflicting arguments on rulings.

TheVectornaut says... Accepted answer #1

The first thing I'd note here is that you don't lose from drawing the last card in your library but rather for drawing "more cards than are left in [your] library", so you would need to have drawn all 20 cards with Blue Sun's Zenith for a single Kenrith activation to prove fatal. As for the actual question, you would be able to respond to Kenrith's activation being put on the stack by activating Elixir of Immortality . It's not like you are losing the game just because an ability that would cause you to lose the game has been put on the stack. That ability actually has to resolve first so that you really are drawing from an empty library. Because the stack resolves last-in, first-out, the elixir's ability will resolve before Kenrith's does. However, to complicate the situation, a player with enough mana could simply activate the forced draw ability a second time in response to your elixir activation so that Kenrith's ability is once more on top of the stack. In that case, you would need a way to untap the artifact to pay its activation cost again if you wanted to do the same thing and have it resolve first. Assuming you end up on top, the elixir will shuffle your GY and itself back in and keep the subsequent resolution of the draw ability from killing you.

May 4, 2021 11:07 a.m.

diohelrivwsp says... #2

@TheVectornaut the people I was discussing this with were very insistent that I was wrong. Good to know I wasn't, but I'm open to anyone else explaining why I am wrong and having a discussion about it instead of shutting me down when I even pulled up the actual rulings. Thanks!

May 4, 2021 11:32 a.m.

Denial048 says... #3

TheVectornaut is 100% correct, there isn't anything else to discuss really.

May 4, 2021 10:30 p.m.

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