Turn-based actions also don’t use the stack.

Yesterday we looked at the six special actions that do not use the stack. There are a lot more turn-based actions, so I will not go over all of them, but cover the more important ones.

Unlike special actions, turn-based actions happen at very specific times in the game. They are different from state-based actions in this way as they only occur at specific points in each turn, as opposed to whenever needed. Some of them involve choices made by players; others do not. They are also not optional. Examples of turn-based actions are:

  • Untapping at the beginning of each turn. This can be partially modified by effects that keep a permanent from untapping, such as Claustrophobia or Rust Tick. However, the action is applied even if it is being modified by other effects.
  • Drawing a card at the beginning of your draw step. This is the first thing that happens in that step and it can’t be responded to. Only after the card is drawn (or the draw is replaced by something like Dredge) do players get priority.
  • Discarding excess cards in the cleanup step of your turn if you have more cards than your current maximum hand size.
  • Mana emptying from your mana pool at the end of every step and phase.

A large number of other turn-based actions occur in the combat step: Declaring attacking creatures, declaring blocking creatures, choosing the damage assignment order if a creature in combat is blocking or blocked by more than one creature, assigning combat damage and applying combat damage are all examples of actions during the combat phase that don’t use the stack.

Additionally, there is one variant turn-based action. In an Archenemy game, the next scheme being put in motion is a turn-based action that occurs at the beginning of the precombat main phase of the Archenemy’s turn.

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