The entire point of the stack is to make sure events occur in a logical order. But what doesn’t use the stack?

Well, these things:

  • playing a land;
  • tapping a permanent for mana;
  • unmorphing a creature;
  • phasing in and out at the start of the untap step
  • untapping at the start of the untap step
  • drawing a card at the start of the draw step
  • declaring attackers at the start of the declare attackers step
  • declaring blockers at the start of the declare blockers step
  • the active player discarding down to his or her maximum hand size at the start of the cleanup step
  • removing damage from permanents and ending “until end of turn” and “this turn” effects at the start of the cleanup step
  • exiling a card with suspend using its suspend ability

None of these abilities use the stack, and therefore can’t be responded to by any cards. Sometimes one of these will cause triggered abilities to trigger (which do use the stack) but they themselves cannot be responded to.

By comparison, this is what does use the stack:

  • casting spells
  • activating non-mana abilities

While the stack seems complicated on its own, there is still a lot more out there. The next article I’ll be writing is state-based actions – all having to do with everything else the game has to offer.

Until next time,