Chains of Mephistopheles



  • Chains of Mephistopheles. I thought I understood this card, until @AmbivalentDuck pointed out to me today that the effect stacks with more than one in play... Wow. Mind blown... I guess my main question is, does this mean that if, for example, I Ancestral an opponent who has three or more cards in hand, and there are two Chains in play, did they just get decked? (assuming they don't hit an instant they can play in response to a Chains trigger?) Do they just keep replacing each other's draw effect with a discard then draw effect, and the guy rolls through the entire deck?

    P.S. Are there other odd interactions involving Chains, that I'm missing?


  • TMD Supporter

    I can't say I understand the card that well, but I remember LSV mentioning he loves +1ing Dack targeting the opponent when they have a Chains in play. I presume they just discard cards when that happens. No clue on the effects with more than one in play.



  • @jimmycolorado I can tell you for a fact that in that situation the player will discard two cards, then draw two cards, then discard two again because of the Dack... That's all assuming that the guy even has two cards to begin with... In that case they would discard and then mill... then draw two cards and discard them. The takeaway is that basically Dack with Chains makes Hymn to Tourach on a stick.



  • As soon as a player has no cards in hand, he or she will mill a card and then all additional Chains do nothing. Each Chains of Mephitopheles will force a discard before the additional cards are drawn, but the mill effect of Chains replaces any additional card draws, so no further discard will happen.

    Chains do indeed stack, but the effects will force a discard only if a player has cards to discard.



  • @ApolloGod If a player has say, 7 cards in hand, wouldn't they discard and then draw cards in sets of three (after an ancestral) and never run out of cards in hand?



  • I know a lot about this card, so i'll explain as best I can how it works:

    Oracle Text:
    If a player would draw a card except the first one he or she draws in his or her draw step each turn, that player discards a card instead. If the player discards a card this way, he or she draws a card. If the player doesn't discard a card this way, he or she puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

    This is a replacement effect. So if multiple ones are in play, you choose which replacement effect you want to use. You can only pick one replacement effect for each action. However, if you draw a card this way, the clause on the other one hits and a second replacement effect happens. "...that player discards a card instead. If the player discards a card this way, he or she DRAWS a card" that draw on the Chains #1 is the trigger for the Chains #2.

    So the stacking effect only happens if you are drawing a card, and not if you are milling. You never get to stack mills because there is only one replacement effect.

    Other interesting situations arise when you have a dredger in the graveyard. If that player has a card in hand, they have a few choices:

    1. They can dredge as a replacement effect and discard no cards.
    2. They can discard a card to Chains of Mephistopheles, then trigger the dredge ability when Drawing a card off of chains resolution (you would do this if you wanted to dredge but had no dredgers in your graveyard)
    3. You can choose not to dredge.


  • @gkraigher So... decking? Yes?



  • @Topical_Island said:

    @ApolloGod If a player has say, 7 cards in hand, wouldn't they discard and then draw cards in sets of three (after an ancestral) and never run out of cards in hand?

    No, each individual draw is a unique action that requires a replacement effect. So you don't discard 3 cards first before drawing three. You do each one individually.



  • @Topical_Island

    No, there is no infinite loop that will deck your opponent.

    You will have to deck them individually. And even you have 8 copies of Chains of Mepistopheles in play, they will still only mill 1 card.



  • Ok, so I have 3 cards in hand and you have 2 chains on the table and cast ancestral recall targeting me.

    AR resolves and I go to draw 3 cards.
    Ancestral Recall: U Instant Target player draws 3 cards
    Chains of Mephistopheles 1B enchantment

    If a player would draw a card except the first one he or she draws in his or her draw step each turn, that player discards a card instead. If the player discards a card this way, he or she draws a card. If the player doesn't discard a card this way, he or she puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

    The discard then draw and the mill effect of chains are both replacement effects. This means as soon as somebody's hand is emptied and t hey cannot discard, their draw is replaced with a mill. Once that happens there is no longer an draw for the other chains to replace. So you don't mill them out. You just discard away their hand and mill once for each draw they can't discard for. Still a powerful affect but not instant game win.



  • @Khahan

    It would work like this:

    discard a card to chains #1, then discard a card to chains #2, then draw a card. (2 cards in hand)
    discard a card to chains #1, then discard a card to chains #2, then draw a card. (1 cards in hand)
    discard a card to chains #1 ,then mill 1 card

    You have 0 cards in hand and have milled 1 card.

    If they had 2 cards in hand, it would work like this:

    draw #1: discard a card to chains #1, then discard a card to chains #2, then draw a card. (1 cards in hand)
    draw #2: discard a card to chains #1 ,then mill 1 card
    draw#3: mill 1 card



  • I think the part of the multiple chains interatction that often gets overlooked, and causes confusion, is that Chains of Mephistopheles reads "draw a card" on it.



  • Ok... I think I got this. Multiple Chains in play will cause a player'd entire hand to be discarded, eventually, and then a card milled off the top... if someone plays some drawing effect. The real world application of this would now be that all card drawing is turned off completely. (With one Chains in play, it is possible for people to save up cards in hand, and then discard the cards to draw.) Have I got this now?

    Two Chains makes the game total topdeck mode (Barring cards that draw cards without the word draw... Dig, Dark Confidant, Mind's Desire)... Oh, Two Chains... I smell a deck name.



  • @Topical_Island

    Drawing isn't shut off unless the player is hellbent.

    You can still discard cards to draw cards. But it makes effects like Brainstorm especially bad, as the caster would have to discard 3 cards and then put two more cards on top of their library.



  • @gkraigher Wow, I'm confused. A player has two cards in hand. There are two Chains in play. That player casts Treasure Cruise... Now what?



  • @Topical_Island

    If they had 2 cards in hand, it would work like this:

    draw #1: discard a card to chains #1, then discard a card to chains #2, then draw a card. (1 cards in hand)
    draw #2: discard a card to chains #1 ,then mill 1 card
    draw#3: mill 1 card

    net effect, discard 3 cards, draw 1 card, and mill 2 cards. 0 cards in hand afterward. (I mentioned that you discarded 3 cards for effects like Madness)



  • @gkraigher I don't think I agree with this since the draw from the second chains is missing.



  • @Aaron-Patten

    which one are you referring to?

    If you are referring to the last one, on draw #2 you get hellbent inbetween chains #1 and chains #2 so the effect switches from discard draw to mill. You never draw a card because Chains #2 takes its replacement effect on the draw from Chains #1 draw.



  • @gkraigher Why doesn't the draw a card function of the second chains, trigger the first chains again... and back and forth?



  • @Topical_Island

    Because the action that is being replaced is still the drawing of the origional card.

    It doesn't loop, two chains reads like this:

    If a player would draw a card except the first one he or she draws in his or her draw step each turn, that player discards a card instead. If the player discards a card this way, he or she {If a player would draw a card except the first one he or she draws in his or her draw step each turn, that player discards a card instead. If the player discards a card this way, he or she draws a card. If the player doesn't discard a card this way, he or she puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.} If the player doesn't discard a card this way, he or she puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.



  • @gkraigher Right. Now I understand. Recursion was an excellent way to explain it.


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