Anna and Nancy are playing in a Modern Masters 2017 sealed event run at Competitive REL. Anna casts Magma Jet targeting Nancy. She scries one card to the bottom of her library and the other to the top. She then flips the top card of her library, revealing Thragtusk, puts it into her hand, and rolls the die on her Domri Rade from 4 to 5. Nancy then says “Whoa! Hold on a minute! I had stuff to do! Judge!”
Nancy explains away from the table that she wanted to cast Path to Exile on one of Anna’s creatures before the Domri ability resolved because Anna had scried a card to the top.
What do you do?
Judges feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!Answer
Anna has committed Game Play Error – Game Rules Violation and will be issued a Warning. We will rewind the game state to the point of the error by having her replace the Thragtusk from her hand back onto the top of her deck. Then Nancy will receive priority and have the opportunity to cast Path to Exile.
Due to the course of this week’s discussion, we would like to discuss Out of Order Sequencing in a bit more detail. Out of Order Sequencing applies to “a block of actions that, while technically in an incorrect order, arrive at a legal and clearly understood game state.” A good example of OOS is using Domri Rade’s second ability, declaring a fight between two creatures that will both die as a result, then moving your creature to the graveyard before changing the loyalty on Domri. Technically, the loyalty change should happen first, but everything is clear to each player, and we end up in the right place.
In our situation, however, Anna reveals a card from her library and moves it into her hand without indicating any reason for doing so until after the action is already completed. It is only when changing the loyalty on Domri that Nancy is given the chance to figure out what just happened. By skipping the declaration of Domri’s ability, Anna has failed to create a “clearly understood game state.” As such, OOS cannot apply.
Finally, we want to talk about the fix. The GRV is assigned for failing to announce the loyalty ability activation on Domri. So that is the point to which the game is returned. Anna has already activated Domri’s +1 and has also decided not to hold priority. The Thragtusk needs to be put back on top of the library, and it will not be shuffled away. This is because the Thragtusk’s identity is not random due to Anna’s preceding scry and became legally known to Nancy during the rushed resolution of Domri’s ability.