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Player

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Comprehensive Rules
Game Concepts
100. General
101. The Magic Golden Rules
102. Players
103. Starting the Game
104. Ending the Game
105. Colors
106. Mana
107. Numbers and Symbols
108. Cards
109. Objects
110. Permanents
111. Spells
112. Abilities
113. Emblems
114. Targets
115. Special Actions
116. Timing and Priority
117. Costs
118. Life
119. Damage
120. Drawing a Card
121. Counters
Parts of a Card
Card Types
Zones
Turn Structure
Spells, Abilities, and Effects
Additional Rules
Multiplayer Rules
Casual Variants
From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

102. Players

  • 102.1. A player is one of the people in the game. The active player is the player whose turn it is. The other players are nonactive players.
  • 102.2. In a two-player game, a player’s opponent is the other player.
  • 102.3. In a multiplayer game between teams, a player’s teammates are the other players on his or her team, and the player’s opponents are all players not on his or her team.


Types of players[edit | edit source]

Active player[edit | edit source]

The active player, also referred to as the attacking player, is the player currently taking his or her turn. (Compare with all other players in the game, who are nonactive players.) When more than one player have to take actions or make choices, usually the active player goes first (see APNAP).

From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

102.1. A player is one of the people in the game. The active player is the player whose turn it is. The other players are nonactive players.


Non-active player[edit | edit source]

A nonactive player is any player who is not currently taking his or her turn. (Compare with the player/players who are currently taking a turn, active players.) When more than one player have to take actions or make choices, usually the active player goes first (see APNAP).

From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

102.1. A player is one of the people in the game. The active player is the player whose turn it is. The other players are nonactive players.


Defending player[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

506.2. During the combat phase, the active player is the attacking player; creatures that player controls may attack. During the combat phase of a two-player game, the nonactive player is the defending player; that player and planeswalkers he or she controls may be attacked.

  • 506.2a During the combat phase of a multiplayer game, there may be one or more defending players, depending on the variant being played and the options chosen for it. Unless all the attacking player’s opponents automatically become defending players during the combat phase, the attacking player chooses one of his or her opponents as a turn-based action during the beginning of combat step. (Note that the choice may be dictated by the variant being played or the options chosen for it.) That player becomes the defending player. See rule 802, “Attack Multiple Players Option,” rule 803, “Attack Left and Attack Right Options,” and rule 809, “Emperor Variant.”
  • 506.2b In the Two-Headed Giant multiplayer variant, the nonactive team is the defending team. See rule 810, “Two-Headed Giant Variant.”

In certain multiplayer games, there may be more than one defending player.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

802. Attack Multiple Players Option

  • 802.1. Some multiplayer games allow the active player to attack multiple other players. If this option is used, a player can also choose to attack only one player during a particular combat.
  • 802.2. As the combat phase starts, the attacking player doesn’t choose an opponent to become the defending player. Instead, all the attacking player’s opponents are defending players during the combat phase.
  • 802.2a Any rule, object, or effect that refers to a “defending player” refers to one specific defending player, not to all of the defending players. If an ability of an attacking creature refers to a defending player, or a spell or ability refers to both an attacking creature and a defending player, then unless otherwise specified, the defending player it’s referring to is the player that creature was attacking at the time it became an attacking creature that combat, or the controller of the planeswalker that creature was attacking at the time it became an attacking creature that combat. If a spell or ability could apply to multiple attacking creatures, the appropriate defending player is individually determined for each of those attacking creatures. If there are multiple defending players that could be chosen, the controller of the spell or ability chooses one.
Example: Rob attacks Alex with Runeclaw Bear and attacks Carissa with a creature with mountainwalk. Whether the creature with mountainwalk can be blocked depends only on whether Carissa controls a Mountain.
  • 802.3. As the attacking player declares each attacking creature, he or she chooses a defending player or a planeswalker controlled by a defending player for it to attack. See rule 508, “Declare Attackers Step.”
  • 802.3a Restrictions and requirements that don’t apply to attacking a specific player are evaluated based on the entire group of attacking creatures. Restrictions and requirements that apply to attacking a specific player apply only to creatures attacking that player. The entire group of attacking creatures must still be legal. See rule 508.1.
  • 802.3b Creatures in a band can’t attack different players. See rule 702.21, “Banding.”
  • 802.4. If more than one player is being attacked or controls a planeswalker that’s being attacked, each defending player in APNAP order declares blockers as the declare blockers step begins. (See rule 101.4 and rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”) The first defending player declares all his or her blocks, then the second defending player, and so on.
  • 802.4a A defending player can block only with creatures he or she controls. Those creatures can block only creatures attacking that player or a planeswalker that player controls.
  • 802.4b When determining whether a defending player’s blocks are legal, ignore any creatures attacking other players and any blocking creatures controlled by other players.
  • 802.5. After blockers have been declared, if any creatures are blocking multiple creatures, each defending player in APNAP order announces the damage assignment order among the attacking creatures for each blocking creature he or she controls. See rule 510, “Combat Damage Step.”
  • 802.6. Combat damage is assigned in APNAP order. Other than that, the combat damage step proceeds just as in a two-player game. See rule 510, “Combat Damage Step.”
From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

810.7. The Two-Headed Giant variant uses different combat rules than other multiplayer variants.

  • 810.7a Each team’s creatures attack the other team as a group. During the combat phase, the active team is the attacking team and each player on the active team is an attacking player. Likewise, the nonactive team is the defending team and each player on the nonactive team is a defending player.
  • 810.7b Any one-shot effect that refers to the “defending player” refers to one specific defending player, not to both of the defending players. The controller of the effect chooses which one the spell or ability refers to at the time the effect is applied. The same is true for any one-shot effect that refers to the “attacking player.”
Any characteristic-defining ability that refers to the “defending player” refers to one specific defending player, not to both of the defending players. The controller of the object with the characteristic-defining ability chooses which one the ability refers to at the time the nonactive players become defending players.
All other cases in which the “defending player” is referred to actually refer to both defending players. If the reference involves a positive comparison (such as asking whether the defending player controls an Island) or a relative comparison (such as asking whether you control more creatures than the defending player), it gets only one answer. This answer is “yes” if either defending player in the comparison would return a “yes” answer if compared individually. If the reference involves a negative comparison (such as asking whether the defending player controls no black permanents), it also gets only one answer. This answer is “yes” if performing the analogous positive comparison would return a “no” answer. The same is true for all other cases that refer to the “attacking player.”
  • 810.7c As the declare attackers step begins, the active team declares attackers. If an effect of an object controlled by a defending player prohibits a creature from attacking him or her, that creature can’t attack the defending team. The active team has one combined attack, and that set of attacking creatures must be legal as a whole. See rule 508.1.
Example: One player in a Two-Headed Giant game controls Teferi’s Moat, which says “As Teferi’s Moat enters the battlefield, choose a color.” and “Creatures of the chosen color without flying can’t attack you.” Creatures of the chosen color without flying can’t attack that player’s team.
  • 810.7d As the declare blockers step begins, the defending team declares blockers. Creatures controlled by the defending players can block any attacking creatures. The defending team has one combined block, and that set of blocking creatures must be legal as a whole. See rule 509.1.
Example: If an attacking creature has forestwalk and either player on the defending team controls a Forest, the creature can’t be blocked.
  • 810.7e Once blockers have been declared, for each attacking creature that’s become blocked by multiple creatures, the active team announces the damage assignment order among the blocking creatures. Then, for each creature that’s blocking multiple creatures, the defending team announces the damage assignment order among the attacking creatures.
  • 810.7f As the combat damage step begins, the active team announces how each attacking creature will assign its combat damage. If an attacking creature would assign combat damage to the defending team, the active team chooses only one of the defending players for that creature to assign its combat damage to. Then the defending team announces how each blocking creature will assign its combat damage. See rule 510.1.


APNAP[edit | edit source]

APNAP stands for active player, then non-active player. When an effect lets more than one player do something at the same time, the active player will make and announce all decisions necessary for the action first, then the nonactive player(s) will do the same in turn order, and finally all of the actions will take place simultaneously.

Example

  • Mind Swords says "Each player exiles two cards from his or her hand." The active player (who probably cast the Mind Swords, since it is a sorcery) first takes two cards from his or her hand, without revealing them to his or her opponent(s). Then, each opponent in turn will also take out two cards. After all have chosen this way, all of the cards are revealed and exiled at the same time.

APNAP also applies when the rules (or an effect) require several players to do something that can't all be done at the same time. If multiple triggered abilities are waiting to go on the stack when a player would receive priority, the players will first put their triggered abilities on the stack in APNAP order. Since the stack resolves in reverse order, this means the active player's triggers will resolve last.

Example

  • When the turn starts, the active player controls a Masticore ("At the beginning of your upkeep, you may discard a card. If you don't, sacrifice Masticore") and the nonactive player controls a Black Vise ("At the beginning of the chosen player's upkeep, Black Vise deals X damage to that player, where X is the number of cards in his or her hand minus 4.") affecting the active player. The active player will not be able to discard for the Masticore's ability before he or she takes damage from the Black Vise.