Revisiting the Hidden Corners of HCE

After the Oath of the Gatewatch IPG update, I published a piece exploring various cards and how they interacted with the new Hidden Card Error infraction. I thought it would be valuable to revisit those cards and see how the updated infraction handled them.

One thing that is still true, but was misinterpreted last time, was my statement where if applying the remedy looked like it was doing something insane, just issue the GRV. I said this because a lot of the egregious situations we were seeing were actually GRVs (an error had occurred prior to the card going into the hand) and people were not realizing that they needed to be treated as such. If I paid WWW for Divination and drew two, the remedy was not to have the opponent take two cards from my hand and shuffle them into the library. So that guidance still applies, but I’ll be a bit more explicit: if it looks like HCE is about to do something insane, make sure you’ve considered whether there’s another error preceding it. On the bright side, the new rules put a lot of barriers in front of anything really crazy happening, so hopefully it won’t come up much.

I’ll also remind folks again that we’re going into the corners. Here be Dragons!

Dark Confidant

First of all, a reminder that we’re explicitly talking about *resolving* a Dark Confidant trigger. They’re still very missable.

The change here is big. You announce Bob, pick up the top card of your library and put it into your hand. Whoops! Now, you reveal your hand to me and I point at a previously unknown (to me) card. That’s the one! Lose your life.


Rummaging Goblin

We bashed our skulls against this one for a long time. The discard being a cost made it hard to write anything simple that could cover these situations. For a while, we dropped this section entirely and were going to just let it be handled as an extra card. That’s really punitive, since the card would be removed… then you discarded? Yikes.

What we really wanted was some way to prevent a player from gaining more options by doing things wrongly. The advantage to draw-discard over discard-draw is that I can discard the card I just drew. That shouldn’t happen and… wait, we can totally mitigate that.

The fix now is much simpler. Reveal the hand and the opponent says “that’s the card you’re going to draw here”. Set it aside and they perform all the things they needed to do before that card gets rightly put into the hand.

Sensei’s Divining Top

This one was kind of a mess, as it’s in the crossroads between HCE (opponent can’t correct it), GRV (the activation) and LEC (the knowledge). Ultimately, it’s a misleading example. However, the way the rules are written and the expanded philosophy should place it more clearly into Looking at Extra Cards now, which is where it belongs. Fixing it doesn’t require opponent intervention.

The Forbidden Look

The explanation here last time was correct, but it had to get really technical. And we shouldn’t have to get that technical for something that basic. This drove the creation of the new Mulligan Procedure Error, so that we can talk specifically about aspects of the start of the game that didn’t fit in the more generic Hidden Card Error.

The remedy skips all the dancing around what the opponent can do and what the player can do. Since they don’t have too many cards in hand, they just mulligan again. So if I mulligan to six, look at the top card, then mulligan again, I’m going to four.


I’m hoping we haven’t seen a situation where a player puts their hand down on top of their morphs since the last time I wrote about this, but the remedy should be clear now. The player has excess cards in their hand, so they reveal it and the card is returned to the correct location.

Technically, it doesn’t say anything about returning the card face down, but I’m going to assume everyone has enough common sense to not need to be told that.


Pyxis of Pandemonium

We’re still deep in the corners here (you put two cards face-down under there? Really?), and the new Hidden Card Error infraction wants nothing to do with this silliness. Fortunately, the definition specifies “This infraction only applies when a card whose identity is known to only one player”, and here, it’s known to neither! (Note: this was a fortuitous side effect of the wording. We didn’t explicitly try to fix this corner)

That means we have a GRV here. And it’s still deep in the corners. I suggest picking one of that players’ cards at random out of the pile and shuffling it back into the deck. But if you just issued Warnings and walked away, I wouldn’t blame you!

Sylvan Library

Still not a real card. (And the remedy hasn’t changed)







We’re done! And it’s quite a bit shorter than the previous version, which I’m going to take as a good sign. Now, no doubt, I get to look forward to a followup post: “The New Hidden Corners of HCE.” Fingers crossed that that one will be very short.

5 thoughts on “Revisiting the Hidden Corners of HCE

  1. Which infraction with Sensei’s Divining Top are you talking about? It’s not clear from the text.

      1. I was sure you were talking about 4 cards instead of three up until the point I read this comment.

  2. Just to be clear : with this version of HCE, we do not shuffle the extra cards from Sylvan Library, right?

    1. If they don’t wish to keep them, they’re excess cards and get shuffled into the library.

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