Ending the game

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Typically, the game ends when one player wins and the others lose.

Regular play[edit | edit source]

The most common way to lose the game is to have one's life points reduced to zero, causing the other player to win. However, there are several other options how one might lose or win.

Drawn game[edit | edit source]

A game might also end with a draw. A drawn game is a game where the game ends and there is no winner.

Conceding[edit | edit source]

Conceding is, of course, always an option.[1] To concede a game is forfeiting a game of Magic: The Gathering, often due to the belief that one will soon or ultimately lose. This can happen during competitive tournament play, when a player may forfeit so he or she can play other games during his or her match in the time allotted. Conceding a game immediately causes that player to leave that game and lose that game.

Alternate win or loss conditions[edit | edit source]

Alternate-win cards or alternate-loss cards may introduce new ways of ending the game.

Prevention of ending the game[edit | edit source]

Certain cards prevent ending the game.

Can’t win the game and opponent can’t lose[edit | edit source]

This ability is used as a drawback in black.[2]

Can’t lose the game and opponent can’t win[edit | edit source]

This is a defensive ability, and thus shows up in white.[2] It also shows up in colorless

"You don't lose"[edit | edit source]

Certain permanents prevent you from losing the game for having 0 or less life, usually with an alternate means to lose.[2] This started with Lich in Alpha and has continued to be used in black on rare occasion. More recently, white has also started using this ability, often with the flavor of protecting the player.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

  • 104. Ending the Game
    • 104.1. A game ends immediately when a player wins, when the game is a draw, or when the game is restarted.
    • 104.2. There are several ways to win the game.
      • 104.2a A player still in the game wins the game if that player’s opponents have all left the game. This happens immediately and overrides all effects that would preclude that player from winning the game.
      • 104.2b An effect may state that a player wins the game.
      • 104.2c In a multiplayer game between teams, a team with at least one player still in the game wins the game if all other teams have left the game. Each player on the winning team wins the game, even if one or more of those players had previously lost that game.
      • 104.2d In an Emperor game, a team wins the game if its emperor wins the game. (See rule 809.5.)
    • 104.3. There are several ways to lose the game.
      • 104.3a A player can concede the game at any time. A player who concedes leaves the game immediately. That player loses the game.
      • 104.3b If a player’s life total is 0 or less, that player loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
      • 104.3c If a player is required to draw more cards than are left in their library, they draw the remaining cards and then lose the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
      • 104.3d If a player has ten or more poison counters, that player loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
      • 104.3e An effect may state that a player loses the game.
      • 104.3f If a player would both win and lose the game simultaneously, that player loses the game.
      • 104.3g In a multiplayer game between teams, a team loses the game if all players on that team have lost the game.
      • 104.3h In a multiplayer game using the limited range of influence option (see rule 801), an effect that states that a player wins the game instead causes all of that player’s opponents within the player’s range of influence to lose the game. This may not cause the game to end.
      • 104.3i In an Emperor game, a team loses the game if its emperor loses the game. (See rule 809.5.)
      • 104.3j In a Commander game, a player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704. See also rule 903.10.)
      • 104.3k In a tournament, a player may lose the game as a result of a penalty given by a judge. See rule 100.6.
    • 104.4. There are several ways for the game to be a draw.
      • 104.4a If all the players remaining in a game lose simultaneously, the game is a draw.
      • 104.4b If a game that’s not using the limited range of influence option (including a two-player game) somehow enters a “loop” of mandatory actions, repeating a sequence of events with no way to stop, the game is a draw. Loops that contain an optional action don’t result in a draw.
      • 104.4c An effect may state that the game is a draw.
      • 104.4d In a multiplayer game between teams, the game is a draw if all remaining teams lose simultaneously.
      • 104.4e In a multiplayer game using the limited range of influence option, the effect of a spell or ability that states that the game is a draw causes the game to be a draw for that spell or ability’s controller and all players within their range of influence. Only those players leave the game; the game continues for all other players.
      • 104.4f In a multiplayer game using the limited range of influence option, if the game somehow enters a “loop” of mandatory actions, repeating a sequence of events with no way to stop, the game is a draw for each player who controls an object that’s involved in that loop, as well as for each player within the range of influence of any of those players. Only those players leave the game; the game continues for all other players.
      • 104.4g In a multiplayer game between teams, the game is a draw for a team if the game is a draw for all remaining players on that team.
      • 104.4h In the Emperor variant, the game is a draw for a team if the game is a draw for its emperor. (See rule 809.5.)
      • 104.4i In a tournament, all players in the game may agree to an intentional draw. See rule 100.6.
    • 104.5. If a player loses the game, that player leaves the game. If the game is a draw for a player, that player leaves the game. The multiplayer rules handle what happens when a player leaves the game; see rule 800.4.
    • 104.6. One card (Karn Liberated) restarts the game. All players still in the game when it restarts then immediately begin a new game. See rule 718, “Restarting the Game.”

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

Lose the Game
There are several ways to lose the game. See rule 104, “Ending the Game,” rule 810.8 (for additional rules for Two-Headed Giant games), rule 809.5 (for additional rules for Emperor games), and rule 903.10 (for an additional rule for Commander games).

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

Win the Game
There are several ways to win the game. See rule 104, “Ending the Game,” and rules 810.8 (for additional rules for Two-Headed Giant games) and rule 809.5 (for additional rules for Emperor games).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Gavin Verhey. (October 20, 2016.) “I Concede”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b c Mark Rosewater. (June 5, 2017.) “Mechanical Color Pie 2017”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.