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Type: Triggered
Introduced: Torment
Last Used: Future Sight
Reminder Text: If a player would discard this card, that player discards it, but may exile it instead of putting it into his or her graveyard. When this card is exiled this way, its owner may cast it by paying (cost) rather than paying its mana cost. If that player doesn’t, he or she puts this card into his or her graveyard.
Statistics: 22 cards
Manab.gif59% Manar.gif14% Manau.gif9% Manag.gif9% Manaw.gif9%
Gatherer search for "Madness"

Madness is a keyword ability on spells that allows a player to play that spell for an alternate cost if it is discarded. It was introduced in the Odyssey block in Torment [1] [2] and was later revisited in the Time Spiral block. It is primarily found in black.

Torment's madness cards inspired a deck known as "Wild Mongrel", or "UG Madness", which, using the signature card Wild Mongrel, enabled instant-speed discard, which allowed cards with Madness to be played at instant-speed. Wild Mongrel also enabled other abilities such as flashback and the seven-card "Incarnations" (Anger, Brawn, Filth, Genesis, Glory, Valor, and Wonder).

From the Comprehensive Rules:

  • 702.34. Madness
    • 702.34a Madness is a keyword that represents two abilities. The first is a static ability that functions while the card with madness is in a player’s hand. The second is a triggered ability that functions when the first ability is applied. “Madness [cost]” means “If a player would discard this card, that player discards it, but may exile it instead of putting it into his or her graveyard” and “When this card is exiled this way, its owner may cast it by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. If that player doesn’t, he or she puts this card into his or her graveyard.”
    • 702.34b Casting a spell using its madness ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.

For your reference [CR 601.2b,e-g]

  • 601.2b If the spell is modal the player announces the mode choice (see rule 700.2). If the player wishes to splice any cards onto the spell (see rule 702.44), he or she reveals those cards in his or her hand. If the spell has alternative, additional, or other special costs that will be paid as it’s being cast such as buyback, kicker, or convoke costs (see rules 116.8 and 116.9), the player announces his or her intentions to pay any or all of those costs (see rule 601.2e). A player can’t apply two alternative methods of casting or two alternative costs to a single spell. If the spell has a variable cost that will be paid as it’s being cast (such as an Manax.gif in its mana cost; see rule 107.3), the player announces the value of that variable. If a cost that will be paid as the spell is being cast includes hybrid mana symbols, the player announces the nonhybrid equivalent cost he or she intends to pay. Previously made choices (such as choosing to cast a spell with flashback from a graveyard or choosing to cast a creature with morph face down) may restrict the player’s options when making these choices.
  • 601.2e The player determines the total cost of the spell. Usually this is just the mana cost. Some spells have additional or alternative costs. Some effects may increase or reduce the cost to pay, or may provide other alternative costs. Costs may include paying mana, tapping permanents, sacrificing permanents, discarding cards, and so on. The total cost is the mana cost or alternative cost (as determined in rule 601.2b), plus all additional costs and cost increases, and minus all cost reductions. If the mana component of the total cost is reduced to nothing by cost reduction effects, it is considered to be {0}. It can’t be reduced to less than {0}. Once the total cost is determined, any effects that directly affect the total cost are applied. Then the resulting total cost becomes “locked in.” If effects would change the total cost after this time, they have no effect.
  • 601.2f If the total cost includes a mana payment, the player then has a chance to activate mana abilities (see rule 605, “Mana Abilities”). Mana abilities must be activated before costs are paid.
  • 601.2g The player pays the total cost in any order. Partial payments are not allowed. Unpayable costs can’t be paid.
    • Example
      You cast Death Bomb, which costs Mana3.gifManab.gif and has an additional cost of sacrificing a creature. You sacrifice Thunderscape Familiar, whose effect makes your black spells cost Mana1.gif less to play. Because a spell’s total cost is “locked in” before payments are actually made, you pay Mana2.gifManab.gif, not Mana3.gifManab.gif, even though you’re sacrificing the Familiar.


  • When you discard a card with madness, you may discard it normally or you may remove it from the game. When you remove it from the game, you may play it, or you may put it into your graveyard. Playing a card with madness is just like playing an instant from your hand, except you pay the spell's madness cost instead of its mana cost. It goes on the stack like any other spell and it can be countered like any other spell.
  • When you play a spell by paying its madness cost, its mana cost doesn't change. You just pay the madness cost instead.
  • Effects that cause you to pay more or less for a spell will cause you to pay that much more or less for its madness cost, too. That's because they affect the total cost of the spell, not its mana cost.
  • Madness works no matter why you're discarding the card. You could discard to pay a cost, because a spell or ability tells you to, or even because you have too many cards in your hand at the end of your turn. You can't discard a card with madness just because you want to, though.
  • When you play a card with madness, it still counts as being discarded, but it doesn't actually get to your graveyard before you play it. That means your opponent can't remove it "in response" to stop you from playing the spell. Abilities that trigger on a card being discarded, however, will still trigger.
  • If you choose not to play a card with madness when the madness triggered ability resolves, it goes to your graveyard. You don't get another chance to play it.


  • Psychotic Haze - Mana2.gifManab.gifManab.gif
    Psychotic Haze deals 1 damage to each creature and each player.
    Madness Mana1.gifManab.gif (If you discard this card, you may cast it for its madness cost instead of putting it into your graveyard.)

Notable cards with madness[edit]


  1. Mike Elliott. (January 21, 2002.) "Initial Stages of Madness", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Paul Barclay. (January 28, 2002.) "Rules Primer:Madness", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.