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Keyword Action
Introduced Alpha
Last used Evergreen
Reminder Text No official reminder text
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Shuffle is a keyword action that was introduced in Alpha.[1] A shuffled deck must be completely randomized. Libraries can only be shuffled when a player is directed to do so by the rules. Players shuffle in many different ways. The most common is a combination of 'riffle' shuffles and 'pile' shuffles.[2]

Description[ | ]

Before each game, each player must shuffle their deck. While the Comprehensive Rules state only that libraries must be in a state such that no player knows their order, the Tournament Rules go into substantially more detail. Notably, the Tournament Rules state that pile shuffling is not adequate - it is considered only as a form of checking for the correct number of cards in one's deck and is permitted once per game. This means that any in-game instances of shuffling cannot use pile shuffling. Additionally, players must have the option of performing a final shuffle of their opponent's deck. At the Competitive and Professional Rules Enforcement Levels, players must shuffle their opponent's decks.[3]

During the game, various effects may require a player to shuffle their library again. This usually follows a player searching that library, and is necessary to avoid that player accurately predicting every draw from that library. Outside of search effects, several cards direct that some set of cards be shuffled into the library from other zones.

R&D tries to minimize the frequency of shuffle effects by avoiding printing them at lower rarities, because they slow down the pace of play, and because many new players are uncomfortable with shuffling.[4]

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

To randomize the cards in a deck (before a game) or library (during a game). See rule 103.3 and rule 701.20.

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 701.20. Shuffle
    • 701.20a To shuffle a library or a face-down pile of cards, randomize the cards within it so that no player knows their order.
    • 701.20b Some effects cause a player to search a library for a card or cards, shuffle that library, then put some or all of the found cards into a different zone or in a certain position in that library. In such cases, the found cards aren’t included in the shuffle, even though they remain in the library at that time. Rather, all the cards in that library except those are shuffled. Abilities that trigger when a library is shuffled will still trigger. See also rule 401, “Library.”
    • 701.20c If an effect would cause a player to shuffle one or more specific objects into a library, that library is shuffled even if none of those objects are in the zone they’re expected to be in or an effect causes all of those objects to be moved to another zone or remain in their current zone.

      Example: Guile says, in part, “When Guile is put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle it into its owner’s library.” It’s put into a graveyard and its ability triggers, then a player exiles it from that graveyard in response. When the ability resolves, the library is shuffled.

      Example: Black Sun’s Zenith says, in part, “Shuffle Black Sun’s Zenith into its owner’s library.” Black Sun’s Zenith is in a graveyard, has gained flashback (due to Recoup, perhaps), and is cast from that graveyard. Black Sun’s Zenith will be exiled, and its owner’s library will be shuffled.

    • 701.20d If an effect would cause a player to shuffle a set of objects into a library, that library is shuffled even if there are no objects in that set.

      Example: Loaming Shaman says “When Loaming Shaman enters the battlefield, target player shuffles any number of target cards from their graveyard into their library.” It enters the battlefield, its ability triggers, and no cards are targeted. When the ability resolves, the targeted player will still have to shuffle their library.

    • 701.20e If an effect causes a player to shuffle a library containing zero or one cards, abilities that trigger when a library is shuffled will still trigger.
    • 701.20f If two or more effects cause a library to be shuffled multiple times simultaneously, abilities that trigger when that library is shuffled will trigger that many times.
    • 701.20g If an effect would cause a player to shuffle a library at the same time that an object would be put into a certain position in that library, the result is a shuffled library that’s randomized except that the object is in the specified position.

      Example: Darksteel Colossus and Gravebane Zombie are put into a player’s graveyard from the battlefield at the same time. Darksteel Colossus says in part “If Darksteel Colossus would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, reveal Darksteel Colossus and shuffle it into its owner’s library instead.” Gravebane Zombie says “If Gravebane Zombie would die, put Gravebane Zombie on top of its owner’s library instead.” The player shuffles Darksteel Colossus into their library and puts Gravebane Zombie on top of that library.

From the Tournament Rules (May 13, 2024—Outlaws of Thunder Junction)

  • 3.10 Card Shuffling
    Decks must be randomized at the start of every game and whenever an instruction requires it. Randomization is defined as bringing the deck to a state where no player can have any information regarding the order or position of cards in any portion of the deck. Pile shuffling may not be performed other than once each at the beginning of a game to count the cards in the deck.

    Once the deck is randomized, it must be presented to an opponent. By this action, players state that their decks are legal and randomized. The opponent may then shuffle it additionally. Cards and sleeves must not be in danger of being damaged during this process. If the opponent does not believe the player made a reasonable effort to randomize their deck, the opponent must notify a judge. Players may request to have a judge shuffle their cards rather than the opponent; this request will be honored only at a judge’s discretion.

    If a player has had the opportunity to see any of the card faces of the deck being shuffled, the deck is no longer considered randomized and must be randomized again.

    At Competitive and Professional Rules Enforcement Level tournaments, players are required to shuffle their opponents’ decks after their owners have shuffled them. The Head Judge can require this at Regular Rules Enforcement Level tournaments as well.

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (July, 2002). "Ask Wizards - July 2002". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. "Magic: The Gathering® Tournament Rules". Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  4. Sam Stoddard (December 9, 2016). "Kaladesh Mailbag". Wizards of the Coast.