Some of the things that don’t use the stack are referred to as State-Based Actions.
Now, what exactly is that supposed to mean? I’ve never seen this on a card!
Well, you hopefully never will. Unless we start having cards that specifically break the rules – but then again, we do this all the time. You’ll see what I mean.
Basically, these are the rules that deal with the common sense aspect of the game – having 0 life makes you lose, for example. I’ll be talking about the important parts of State-based actions, and why you should probably know what they do.
704.1. State-based actions are game actions that happen automatically whenever certain conditions are met. State-based actions don’t use the stack.
So we talked about the stack last time, and these actions don’t use the stack. Good to know.
704.2. State-based actions are checked throughout the game and are not controlled by any player.
This part may need a little bit more explanation.
704.3. Whenever a player would get priority, the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based actions, then performs all applicable state-based actions simultaneously as a single event. If any state-based actions are performed as a result of a check, the check is repeated; otherwise all triggered abilities that are waiting to be put on the stack are put on the stack, then the check is repeated. Once no more state-based actions have been performed as the result of a check and no triggered abilities are waiting to be put on the stack, the appropriate player gets priority. This process also occurs during the cleanup step (see rule 514), except that if no state-based actions are performed as the result of the step’s first check and no triggered abilities are waiting to be put on the stack, then no player gets priority and the step ends.
As you should remember from our article about the Stack, players pass priority when they’re done placing cards or abilities on the stack. This is the fastest the stack can react – whenever a player gains priority, all state based actions are monitored.
And below is a list of all things that are state based actions:
- If a player has 0 or less life, he or she loses the game.
- If a player attempted to draw a card from a library with no cards in it since the last time state-based actions were checked, he or she loses the game.
- If a player has 10 or more poison counters, he or she loses the game.
- If a token is phased out or goes to any other zone than the battlefield, it ceases to exist.
- If a copy of a spell or ability is in a zone other than the stack, it ceases to exist. If a copy of a card is in any zone other than the stack or the battlefield, it ceases to exist.
- If a creature has toughness 0 or less, it is put into its owner’s graveyard. Regeneration cannot replace this event.
- If a creature has toughness greater than 0, and the total damage marked on it is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.
- If a planeswalker has loyalty 0, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard.
- If a player control two or more planeswalkers that share a planeswalker type, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owner’s graveyards. This is called the “planeswalker uniqueness rule.”
- If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the the “legend rule.”
- If two or more permanents have the supertype world, all except the one that has had the world supertype for the shortest amount of time are put into their owners’ graveyards. In the event of a tie for the shortest amount of time, all are put into their owners’ greveyards. This is called the “world rule.”
- If an Aura is attached to an illegal object or player, or is not attached to an object or player, that Aura is put into its owner’s graveyard.
- If an Equipment or Fortification is attached to an illegal permanent, it becomes unattached fro mthat permanent. It remains on the battlefield.
- IF a creature is attached to an object or player, it becomes unattached and remains on the battlefield. Similarly, if a permanent that’s neither an Aura, an Equipment, nor a Fortification is attached to an object or player, it becomes unattached and remains on the battlefield.
- If a permanent has both a +1/+1 counter and a -1/-1 counter on it, N +1/+1 and N -1/-1 counters are removed from it, where N is the smaller of the number of +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on it.
- In a Commander game, a player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same Commander over the course of the game loses the game.
These are all things that we just kind of know happen – and that’s how it’ll stay, hopefully.
Until next time,