Warning! Reading this week card’s text aloud three times may lead to accidental summoning of the Satan.
Chains of Mephistopheles is an enchantment. It is cast or brought onto the battlefield by
demons some effect and stays there until demons take it some other effect destroys it or otherwise makes it change zones.
Chains of Mephistopheles has a single static ability that creates a replacement effect. This type of effect is easily recognized by the word “instead”
hidden somewhere in that diabolic incantation. These effects replace one event with the other so that the first event never actually occurs.
Now let’s read the card’s text.
The basic event this effect is waiting for is a card draw. Specifically, Chains look for any draw, except the first one in the draw step of the player. That card is being drawn normally. Well, except sometimes miracles happen. Every other card draw is going to be replaced according to the scheme described below. Additionally, the cause of the draw is absolutely irrelevant when we deal with
the devil Chains of Mephistopheles; Chains effect will work whether the card draw is part of the payment for a spell or ability or part of result.
Instead of drawing a card, player is instructed to
conduct a bloody ritual discard a card from his hand. And if he does (because the hand isn’t empty) then he gets to draw a card*.
If a player can’t discard a card (because his hand is empty, for example), then he mills, i.e. puts the top card of his library into his graveyard.
Here is a chart describing the process:
If there are multiple replacement effects that replace the drawing of a card, the affected player chooses the order in which they are applied. Sometimes this leads to situations when some effects can’t be applied because the event they would replace is no longer going to happen. For example, if there are two Chains of Mephistopheles on the battlefield, each ability will try to replace every draw (except the first draw in the draw step). The replacement effects are applied one after the other. So, the player will need to discard due to the first application of the Chains. If he does, he gets to draw another card. This draw is subject to the second replacement effect. However, if the application of the first replacement results in milling a card, the second effect will not have an event to replace.
There are special rules for replacement effects that replace card draws:
614.11. Some effects replace card draws. These effects are applied even if no cards could be drawn because there are no cards in the affected player’s library.
614.11a If an effect replaces a draw within a sequence of card draws, all actions required by the replacement are completed, if possible, before resuming the sequence.
614.11b If an effect would have a player both draw a card and perform an additional action on that card, and the draw is replaced, the additional action is not performed on any cards that are drawn as a result of that replacement effect.
If a Fa’adiyah Seer’s ability was activated and its controller has cards in hand, due to the Chains of Mephistopheles, the card draw will be replaced with discard/draw. The card drawn this way doesn’t need to be revealed or discarded (even if it’s a land card). This part of the ability’s effect is ignored because of rule 614.11b.
Note that the resolution of the last part of the Scholar’s ability will happen normally even after applying Chains of Mephistopheles’ effect, because Scholar’s ability effect doesn’t interact with the card drawn, but instead with the card you choose to discard.
Because Chains of Mephistopheles instructs us to discard, this means that other effects that reply to discards can also apply. For example:
Some advice: do not play Chains of Mephistopheles if you don’t want to be hated by judges!
Translated by Witas Spasovski