Cascade Effect

Written by niknight on May 24, 2009

With the popularity of certain new decks focused on the Cascade ability (Swans, Jund, Hypergenesis et al), the number of rulings given in #judges4you because of a messed up cascade have increased dramatically. Since cascading can potentially involve manipulating a large number of cards, situations can get really messy and very heavy penalties can ensue. With that said, I would like to walk you through the process of cascading from beginning to end so we can alleviate some of the problems that have occurred.

                The first thing you have to do is properly cast the spell in the first place. This means that for spells which require targets (like Bituminous Blast and Demonic Dread), you must announce your target before any cascading happens. This can make a huge difference depending on what you cascade into. Also be certain to tap the correct mana before you do any sort of cascading. The instant you flip the first card (in some situations before this) the method you used to pay for the spell is locked.

                After you go through the process of playing the cascade spell, the cascade trigger GOES ON THE STACK ABOVE THE SPELL. Your opponent DOES get an opportunity to respond to both the ability and original spell before you flip anything. What does this mean for you?? Be sure that your opponent has no responses before you flip cards. Not waiting and flipping stuff will usually wind up with a ruling not in your favor, so be sure to ask “Ok?” before proceeding.

     Now that neither player wants to do anything else before your trigger resolves, you may resolve your cascade. Please be sure to go at a reasonable pace so you don’t miss a card you can play. Once you find a card that costs less, you have the option of playing the spell for free. The spell played via the cascade ability will be above the original spell on the stack. Once you finish putting the cards on the bottom, both players get a chance to respond to both the original spell, and the free one. Again allow for response time before continuing anything.

                If neither player wants to do anything, resolve the free spell then both player can again respond to the original. Again ask if it’s ok. Once the original resolves, continue the game as normal. Not doing this correctly is Game Play Error – Game Rule Violation at best, and if we feel you’re being shady, you could wind up DQ’ed and banned for cheating! One of the hardest things for us to do from a judge standpoint is to determine if we can back up safely, or if we should upgrade the penalty to something more severe. The best advice is to not even let it get to that point.

                I hope this was informative, and until next time may you cascade from 7 to 6 to 5 to 4 to 3 into a 2 drop bomb.

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by Aion on 2009-05-24 21:32 CET

I was hoping for an explanation on how to put cards on the bottom randomly.

by Steveman on 2009-05-24 21:36 CET

God damn Wizard's should've just required players to shuffle library, but that'd probably take too much time IRL

by darksigma on 2009-05-24 22:25 CET

the best way to put the cards random in the bottom is to flip all the cards over move them randomly
then select all of them and right-click put card on bottom on library.

by Eldariel on 2009-05-24 22:30 CET

The way to randomize the cards we suggest is:
1. Flip all the cards needing randomization face down.
2. Move them to an edge so they become stacked.
3. Put the stack to the bottom as a group without looking at them.

by TheWatery on 2009-05-25 01:28 CET

Just because I have had it happen to me, could you please clarify the official ruling on Hypergenesis? I have run into opponents with different takes on triggered abilities of creatures put into play, IE. Angel of Dispair, when is it's target chosen and when does it resolve, etc.

by snoopster on 2009-05-25 05:18 CET

wizards of the coast

by Ashmatan on 2009-05-25 06:43 CET

Yeah cuz obviously the cascade mechanic is why they printed Double Negative to counter a cascade spell and another spell. If more than one cascade spell triggers, then you can wait until the next spell is chosen to be cast and choose from two of the three spells to counter. All of the spells are on the stack until both players pass priority. Then they start resolving one at a time (both players passing priority if they wish to do so) until the stack is empty

by Verystrait42 on 2009-05-25 13:49 CET

I just highlight the stack and send to bottom. Is anyone really gonna care, because its not like people are putting them in a specific order on the bottom, just the order they come up it.

by OldBear on 2009-05-25 14:48 CET

It gives you the advantage of knowing in what order you are going to draw your cards so yes.

by MikeL123 on 2009-05-25 19:37 CET

Flipping the cards over and putting them on the bottom is NOT random. I haven't tried Eldariel's stacking method though, so I cannot comment on that.

TheWatery, as for Hypergenesis... Hypergenesis resolves, and you as the player who played it may put a card into play. You put an Angel of Despair into play. Your opponent puts Nekrataal into play. You put a Hunted Wumpus into play. Your opponent puts a Murderous Redcap into play. You pass. Your opponent passes.

Hypergenesis goes to the graveyard as it is finished resolving. State-Based Effects are checked; no one is below 0 life, no creature has suffered lethal damage, etc, but there are some triggered abilities to go on the stack. The active player's triggers go on the stack first, so you need to put Hunted Wumpus' ability on the stack and Angel of Despair's. You can put these on in any order you choose! Despite the fact that your Angel hit the board before the Wumpus, both triggers occur at the same time. So you choose a target for the Angel, and put that on first. Then the Wumpus ability.

Your opponent now puts his abilities on the stack. Again, he can choose the order. He chooses to put the Murderous Redcap on the stack (target: you), and on top of that he puts Nekrataal, targeting the Hunted Wumpus. Bear in mind, when Nekrataal came into play, the Wumpus was not on the board yet!

Assuming no one plays any effects in between, Nekrataal kills the Wumpus. Then Redcap does 2 damage to you. Then your Wumpus trigger resolves and your opponent puts Force of Nature into play. Then your Angel resolves and destroy what it went on the stack targeting (Force of Nature was not an option when you put the Angel's ability on the stack with a chosen target, because it was not yet in play).

So to answer your question, the target for Angel of Despair is chosen after Hypergenesis is done resolving. So if you put one in play via Hypergenesis, you get to see everything your opponent puts into play before you decide what to target.

by squeekysheep on 2009-05-25 21:54 CET

i thought the controller of the turn stacked all abilities that happen at the same time.

by Kuberr on 2009-05-26 19:42 CET

players only stack the abilities they own, and they go in this order:

first on stack (and thus last to resolve): active players abilities, in any way he chooses
second on stack: nonactive player A, in any way he chooses
Xth on stack: nonactive player X, who is left of player X-1, in any way he chooses

by mTk-Away on 2009-05-27 16:51 CET

Do NOT use use Eldariel's method! Moving the cards (not even in stacks) doesn't change their order at all, and they will go to bottom in exactly the same order as they were revealed. You can easily test this by making a deck with 5 different basic lands and 56 Phages or something.

What you should do instead is:
1) Flip all cards down
2) move the around until you can't say what's where
3) Put them to bottom in groups of 1-3 cards. The less cards you have in your group, the more random it will be.

by warp_gaming on 2009-05-28 04:43 CET

No. The "random" way to put cards back on the bottom is to assign a number to each of the cards 1 through X where X is the number of cards, and then use the die roll function with a die with sides equal to the number of cards remaining. Repeat until all cards have been placed on the bottom.

by Verdana on 2009-05-28 05:19 CET

The ultimate random way to put cards on bottom of your library is to leave your computer to your 8 year old cousin and explain him how to put them on bottom, after making sure you teach him he shouldn't be following a pattern, not even ordering them by "art I like the most".

by Lynolf on 2009-05-28 14:35 CET

Hmm... I think I'll try Verdana's method. It seems the more reliable to me. XD

by ykpon on 2009-05-28 17:58 CET

u can drag'n'drop ur library into play face down, then put all revealed cards to library, shuffle it and then put ur old library on top at the same order it was. kinda boring though ><

by warp_gaming on 2009-05-29 20:15 CET

ehem... my method is the closest MWS approximation to the method most commonly used in real life magic.

ex: if a you play bloodbraid elf, cascade goes on the stack, no response by either player, then reveal sprouting thrinax after revealing 4 other cards that cost more than 3, you would set your hand aside, shuffle those 4 cards, put them face down on the table, and your opponent would assign numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 to each of the cards, with rolls of 5 and 6 being rerolls. When there are only 3 cards left, it is much simpler to assign 1 and 2 to a card, 3 and 4 to another, and 5 and 6 to the remaining, to speed up the process. you can see this process used (albeit with a different mechanic, but the idea is the same) here: [].

by Shindeiru on 2009-06-02 10:47 CET

The best way is certanly eldariels way :).

by mTk-Away on 2009-06-05 14:31 CET

TheBends, the problem with it just is that it is absolutely 0% random. On the other hand around, skathe's method would probably get you DQ'ed for stalling.

Would be nice to get some sort of official policy on this.

by Mukke on 2009-06-05 15:58 CET

Skathe's rolling an n-sided die for each card seems to be a good solution, and also reasonably fast. You would probably have to flip them over and do some hand shuffling first, so it's not only random on the library, but also unknown to the players.

However I usually just leave it to opp to decide: "wanna shuffle?". Most people (including me) will not mind, and we just shove it back to the bottom in whatever order they came up.

by six on 2009-06-09 15:30 CET

how about for large cascades we just shuffle the entire library? sure it might mess up a windbrisk heights 3 cards to the bottom, but that's usually not relevant.

by WebMogg on 2009-06-21 18:02 CET

1. select your hand and play face down
2. put the cascade cards in your hand
3. "discard random card" for each, putting on bottom of library after each
4. take face down cards back to hand

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