Tournament Tuesday: The Rules vs. Can’t Lose Effects

Welcome back to the Rules Blog! Today we’ll be going over something that’s occasionally misunderstood: effects that prevent you from losing the game. The ur-example of this is good old Platinum Angel, but there’s been others- most recently, the emblem from Gideon of the Trials. So long as you have that Emblem, and a Planeswalker with the “Gideon” subtype, you can’t lose and your opponents can’t win. That means you’ll stay alive even with 0 or less life, 10 or more poison counters, or having tried to draw from an empty library. Any “I win” effects from your opponent (like Felidar Sovereign or Approach of the Second Sun just don’t do anything, because they CAN’T win. Likewise, any “you lose!” effects (such as Triskaidekaphobia or Door to Nothingness won’t have any real effect; they’ll say “lose the game”, but you can’t, so they just move on (Triskaidekaphobia would still cause the life loss or gain depending on which mode you chose). So long as you have that Emblem and that Gideon, you can’t lose!

Mostly. There’s something Gideon can’t stop, and that’s Judges. If you’re given a penalty that involves you losing the game you’re in (for example, a Game Loss for a Decklist Problem, or a Match Loss for Outside Assistance), that will override Gideon. You will lose that game (or match, or be disqualified from the event, depending on the infraction). Also, you’re only safe from in-game death so long as Gideon is around at the time you “should” die. For example, let’s say you’re at 10 life, and Gideon is at 4 loyalty, with no creatures out. If your opponent attacks you with a 10/10, and Gideon with a 4/4, you’ll lose; the damage takes you to 0 and Gideon to 0 loyalty, and State-Based Actions will check to see if they need to do anything. They see you at 0, and WOULD kill you, but Gideon’s emblem says you’re okay, so they move along. They see Gideon at 0 loyalty, and destroy him. Since the SBAs changed something, they check again to see if anything NEW happens- and see you at 0 life still, with no Gideon to save you. So you lose too!

Today’s Tournament Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

Sharing is Caring - Click Below to Share